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 Is it safe to upgrade OS without testing???

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Constraint Violating Yak Guru

366 Posts

Posted - 2005-10-06 : 16:08:41
I have always upgraded the OS on test servers before upgrading on production. We are in the process of upgrading hardware for a production server and are considering installing Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition vs. what previously existed on the server, Windows 2000 Standard Edition. How much of a risk would this present? I'm leaning towards not changing the OS until we have a chance to upgrade the test servers first.


Starting Member

2 Posts

Posted - 2005-10-06 : 16:16:47
If you are going to upgrade straight from 2000 to 2003 server I would make sure I have a good backup of everything on the server. While upgrades tend to work much of the time there is the occational time when it goes wrong.

I prefer to install a fresh OS rather than upgrading OS's on the same box.
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Master Smack Fu Yak Hacker

3575 Posts

Posted - 2005-10-06 : 16:24:34
I haven't had any problems moving from win2k to win2k3. Actually, in our testing 2k3 seems to be more reliable and is still actively supported by microsoft. Win2k is no longer supported with bugfixes, only security hotfixes are available. We are starting to have some pretty severe issues with our win2k boxes, especially with the latest security hotfixes.

As for your upgrade, I would make sure that you have a good backup as well as copies of the database datafiles (made while the database was shutdown).

Also, I would definitely not perform and upgrade of the OS. I would go with a clean installation. I cannot stress how important it is to make sure you have several sets of backups so you don't have a problem with a corrupt backup.

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Posting Yak Master

145 Posts

Posted - 2005-10-06 : 17:21:21
I think the only think I've run into is the MSDTC Network access difference in Windows 2003. It's off by default. SP1 also introduced some changes to the security of MSDTC. This would not be a problem if the application does not use distributed transactions, though.

Like a kidney stone, this too shall pass.
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Pointy Haired Yak DBA

4184 Posts

Posted - 2005-10-06 : 20:42:01
I'm going to say this everywhere you posted. I think 2003 is much more stable. You do have to fix the DTC access issues for a lot of applications to work. I would NEVER upgrade production without upgrading test first and doing a full test. Anyone who does this is careless and deserves all the fallout that happens when they bring production down and cause their company to lose revenue.

Just my .5 cent worth.


When life gives you a lemon, fire the DBA.
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22859 Posts

Posted - 2005-10-07 : 01:57:51
Although this has nothing to do with testing the "update production in situ" didn't work for this guy, even with good backups!

So it needs the backups restored onto another server to prove that they are readable.

One would assume that upgrading the O/S in situ will leave the applications alone ... so you should not have to restore. But I always favour formatting the machine at an O/S upgrade - to get rid of all the DLL rot in the registry etc.

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Constraint Violating Yak Guru

366 Posts

Posted - 2005-10-07 : 08:53:22
Thanks everyone for your feedback. I should have explained the situation a bit better. We're not actually upgrading the OS in place. We purchased a new server and will be installing the OS on a clean drive. We had planned to test the new hardware, but the testing involved in a hardware change is fairly basic since we are primarily concerned with connectivity, performance and security testing. Application functionality testing wouldn't come into play for a new server, assuming the server name, OS and SQL Server versions (including hot fixes and service packs) remained unchanged.

We found the Q article (Q329332) that addressed a problem (the MSDTC issue) with Linked servers and Windows Server 2003. Once I heard about this issue yesterday we decided testing the application functionality was necessary.

I appreciate the feedback.

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