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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    State of Disbelief
    Posts
    22,953

    Kernel upgrade: how long should it take?

    Forgive the long story. Can't be helped.
    I'm currently using a server management company to help out on a few servers. I won't mention names at this point.

    Yesterday afternoon I ask them to upgrade the kernel on a box because it may have been vulnerable to an exploit I just read about here on WHT. This was about 4PM. They replied right away to ask for the root pass, since there was a mixup with it, and I supplied the pass within 4 minutes.
    Just over three hours later I hear back to have them say the kernel was exploitable and they'd be upgrading.
    About 2 hours later, they respond twice inside a minute to say they are still working on it. Looked canned.
    At midnight, 3 hours later still (5 hours after they said they'd start, and 8 hours from opening the ticket), I ask if there's any progress. Open a new ticket to see if the tech went home...it's closed with word that the first ticket will be updated shortly.

    At 2:15 AM, with still no word from them, I update the ticket to tell then to wait until morning, as I simply can't keep my eyes open waiting and won't be available to reboot or get the DC to do it if it fails to boot. In the morning I see that at 4:57 AM, 2 and 1/2 hours later, the tech responded to say it was done, but he hadn't updated the ticket, and apparently hadn't looked at it since 2:15 AM or so. He says to reboot.
    I do, it doesn't come back up, and I use the reboot card in the box to do it again. back to working, still no upgrade, it seems.

    This was 3PM this afternoon, 23 hours after opening the ticket...for a typically simple kernel upgrade that normally takes about an hour or so, from past experience.

    5:40PM, ticket updated to tell me it's being worked on again. I see the compile running...then it ends (around 7PM), now they've logged off again as of at least 90 minutes ago.
    So here I am at 9PM, 29 hours after opening the ticket, no upgrade, still waiting on them to tell me if I can reboot and try the new kernel to see if it works this time or not.

    I ask you, am I being unreasonable to think this is far and away too long for something that's normally done fairly quickly? Would you be looking for a new management company at this point?
    I'm thinking it's time.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    272
    Most hosting companies roll out their own kernel binaries for kernel updates so that they don't have to compile them on your system. Even with compiling considered, it sounds like their support is being too unresponsive to be acceptable.
    ██ HermeTek Network Solutions
    ██ Network design, security, and implementation
    ██ BSD & Linux consulting, training, and hosting
    ██ https://www.hermetek.com | 1.866.235.1288

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    352
    It should take no more than 30 minutes tops (even less if you have a really powerful server) even on a somewhat busy server. The existing kernel config should have been a drop-in replacement for the new kernel source ("gunzip -c /proc/config.gz > .config", "make oldconfig", "make bzImage", "make modules_install", etc.) If you are running a distro like RHEL, Fedora, or CentOS, then it would have been something even easier like "yum install kernel".

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    State of Disbelief
    Posts
    22,953
    Bleh, I've had it. Compilation ended by 7PM, and they logged out. Ticket just updated at 9:25 to say try rebooting...failed again, needed console reboot.
    Time to poke my head into the management forums. Thanks!
    Having problems, or maybe questions about WHT? Head over to the help desk!

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