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How do you test before patching servers’ OS? Please share best practices for avoiding a critical system disruption. (Ex.: Would you use a set of test servers covering all OS flavors, or test its compatibility for every tool & software before applying?)

For physical servers testing, we have the same models that are in production preinstalled with various OS versions, and we deploy the updates on them first. These are not production servers, and they are purely for patching testing in alpha, beta, and gamma groups. Once updates pass with no issues, we continue to deploy in production. Production servers are further grouped by size and time zone, so we update them in groups. Every night one group gets the update. We monitor how it goes and correct it if necessary. Before any updates are applied, the backup is tested. If you use a 3rd party tool for patching, the vendor usually tests the updates before making them available to you, so they are not directly from the OS vendor. While the pathing vendor can't try everything, they go through a basic functionality test, and you do specific tests that are important for you. A similar principle is applied to VMs and desktops/laptops. Reach out directly if you want more info. I have experience continuously patching thousands of servers spread across North America.

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For physical servers testing, we have the same models that are in production preinstalled with various OS versions, and we deploy the updates on them first. These are not production servers, and they are purely for patching testing in alpha, beta, and gamma groups. Once updates pass with no issues, we continue to deploy in production. Production servers are further grouped by size and time zone, so we update them in groups. Every night one group gets the update. We monitor how it goes and correct it if necessary. Before any updates are applied, the backup is tested. If you use a 3rd party tool for patching, the vendor usually tests the updates before making them available to you, so they are not directly from the OS vendor. While the pathing vendor can't try everything, they go through a basic functionality test, and you do specific tests that are important for you. A similar principle is applied to VMs and desktops/laptops. Reach out directly if you want more info. I have experience continuously patching thousands of servers spread across North America.
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