Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Microsoft Patch Tuesday...

And so the the seemingly never-ending MS Patch Tuesday cycle has come full circle yet again. MS just released 10 (yes my dear OSS zealots *grins*, 10, one-oh) security hotfixes for this month. Not to mention 3 re-releases of previous patches (MS02-035, MS05-004, and MS05-019). A rundown of the patches can be found here.

Patch Tuesdays are notoriously reviled by systems administrators for the fact that rollout of patches within an enterprise entails a lot of taxing and tough work. One has to test whether a patch breaks an application or whether that million-dollar tester equipment still works after the patching or will a server crash, blah blah and more freaking blah.

MS has designated the second tuesday of each month as the day for releasing of security hotfixes/patches. March was an astoundingly big exception as MS didn't release any patch that month. Previously, MS was releasing patches as and when it sees fit (when a vulnerability is found, for example) and this had somehow created nightmares for SAs. Here you were just finished testing with one patch and was about to roll it out when *bam* another one comes in. Tsk, whoever conceived of the Patch Tuesday concept ought to be canonized (that is if he is dead *evil laughter*) or, at least, made a geek knight. =)

Now I have to refer back to my usual to-dos whenever such a day comes. Test the patches, cut some CDs containing these patches and pass to the application/equipment owners for testing, pilot rollout, and finally a mass, keep-your-fingers-crossed rollout. On paper (or blog or whatever) it sounds so simple and uncomplicated but it is not. Sometimes, Murphy is at work when you least expect him.

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