Reboot with Pride


There is an old saying used by the US Navy submarine forces; “we hide with pride”. Let’s take this page from their playbook and apply it to our roles as system administrators. Reboot with pride.

In the past, rebooting a computer, especially a server, seemed to be almost an admission of guilt. For two decades Unix administrators have been needling their Windows counterparts over uptime and availability. Thanks to a better understanding to security (not to mention redundant servers) no longer are we willing to sacrifice security for bragging rights.

Windows systems need to be rebooted every month. Not because of leaking handles or poor performance, but for security. Microsoft releases patches monthly, therefore admins should be patching monthly. No excuses. Period. The end. Ummm, we’ve come to the part of the sentence that is meant to convey that there is no other alternative.

Unix administrators are slightly more free, key word being slightly. Depending upon the vendor, they usually patch quarterly. Gone are the days of the 365+ day server uptime. In fact, if you run into a Unix admin boasting of 365 day server uptime, feel free to thank him for letting you know that his systems are missing several quarterly security patch releases, therefore letting the free world know that his systems are vulnerable to whatever ailment(s) were patched in the past year. You can then remind him that he obviously failed his social engineering / corporate espionage training and that he should expect this serious vulnerability to be posted on your Myspace and Facebook pages in a matter of minutes (feel free to take a photo of his sweat-stained shirt with felt-tip ink blots on the pocket just to spice up your page a little).

Lest we be remiss, we don’t want to exclude our application friends. Those wonderful Exchange, MS-SQL, Oracle, and < insert vendor specific application here > admins who also receive monthly/quarterly patches and should be scheduling their maintenance downtime right directly.

So be proud. You’ve earned it.