Friday, December 23, 2005

Patching: Not relying on a RAID 1 configuration to test patches

The few responses I got to yesterday’s post weren’t very positive.

I know it’s not an “enterprise” solution. But it wasn’t targeted at enterprise customers. In any case, I’m in general agreement that it’s not ideal (And yes, you certainly should make certain that you have a good backup in place before attempting any of this.)

So what are the risks?

Data loss.

Make a mistake, and say, regenerate onto the wrong drive and you out of luck.

Performance impact.

Regenerating can take time, and degrade the performance of your machine (especially an SBS server, if the regeneration extends into business hours).

Loss of fault tolerance.

When you break that mirror, you’re loosing the benefits of having it. Have a failure before you regenerate, and you’re once again, out of luck.

But is it a bad idea for the SMB market?

I still don’t know. I think it’s a completely unnecessary risk in a larger environment, and I'd never recommend it as an option on the enterprise side of the business. Certainly it has the potential to do more harm than good. But assuming you create a good procedure, and follow it to the letter, then things should go well.

And I guess that’s the real sticking point. Having something that “should” work isn’t the same as having something that does work. If you can afford a “test” server, then it might be worthwhile to save you some time testing patches. But even in the SMB world it might just be too much unnecessary risk.

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