Our first Windows Azure Pack and Windows update – did you notice it?

Frank CheungSo we went through our first Windows Azure Pack update and we also did the latest Windows update as well. The entire project was done in three phases. First, we updated our back end infrastructure, then updated Windows Azure Pack, and then we applied the latest Windows updates.

To update our back end infrastructure, we announced and scheduled a 10 minute outage mainly to update our databases to make way for the changes in the Windows Azure Pack update. While we never like taking an outage, in our testing in our dev environment a short outage was the cleanest way of getting the WAP update done without introducing a lot of other technical issues.

Once the back end updates were complete we proceeded to update Windows Azure Pack. The way it works is WAP pushes the update out to the servers one at a time. We found the update in production took longer to apply than we thought it would, even with all of the testing we did in our development environment. But the great news is that there were no site outages during this phase.

The update was also good news to all of you who were waiting for the PDF generation bug to be fixed. You had to wait a little longer than any of us would have liked, but we got the job done!

Finally, we wanted make sure our O/S was hardened with the latest Windows update. At DiscountASP.NET, or any traditional host for that matter, the updates would involve a reboot (or two) of the servers so there would be at least a 15 minute site outage across the board. And of course the longer you wait between the updates, the more reboots and the more time it takes, since there are many previous update dependencies in any Windows update.

WITCH

In any case, Everleap sites did not experience any outages. This is because we employed a rolling update strategy, taking a few servers out of the cluster pool at a time to apply the updates. Once updated, we put the servers back into the active pool and move on to a few other servers, and so forth until every server has been updated.

This was our first Windows Azure Pack update and the first time we applied a Windows update on the Everleap system. We learned a lot through this first update and we hope to be able to speed things up and provide more accurate time estimates the next time around. (When is next time? Well, we expect the WAP updates to be a semi-annual or annual thing.)

All in all, I think the update worked great and was a painless experience for Everleap users. What do you think?


8 Responses
  • M Reply

    Yes, this was a great update – our PDF export now works flawlessly. And if anyone is currently on DiscountASP, I HIGHLY recommend upgrading your account to Everleap. The speed is blazing-fast on Everleap (whereas it was a tiny bit sluggish on DiscountASP). Well worth the upgrade!! And the Everleap team was great with helping us migrate over. Cheers.

    • Michael Phillips Reply

      Thanks M, glad that PDF issue finally got worked out. I agree that it’s worth making the move to Everleap from DiscountASP.NET (or anywhere else). We’re still keeping DiscountASP.NET up to date, nothing is going to change there, but we can do things on Everleap we’ll never be able to do on the shared servers at DiscountASP.NET. For example, we’re working on a dedicated SQL option for Everleap that should make a move even more tempting. 😉 More about that soon.

      • M Reply

        Oooo! dedicated SQL!? We’re definitely interested!

        • Michael Phillips Reply

          🙂 We’re working on it.

          • M

            Will the dedicated SQL servers running on Everleap avoid the “last Wed of the month” downtime? Or is that just unavoidable?

          • Michael Phillips

            M, we’re still working out the details of the offering. There are a lot of different options and ways we can go with it. Stay tuned, we should have a better idea of what we’ll be offering in a few weeks.

  • Frank Cheung Reply

    We don’t have this details yet.

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