SUMMARY: Can Solaris 9 patches be installed on a production system (a Oracle server) without taking it to single user mode?

From: Melissa Young <>
Date: Mon May 16 2005 - 12:23:07 EDT
Thank you everyone :-)
Bob Dobbs
Srinivasa Cherukuri
Christopher L. Barnard
Connolly, Michael
Mike Salehi
Wanderley, Alex
William Enestvedt
Rich Teer
Michael Horton
Edwin Zoeller
Weiss, Jeffrey
Murdock, Matt
Ryan Krenzischek
Anthony D'Atri
Rich Kulawiec
Gold Sun

Can Solaris 9 patches be installed on a production
system (a Oracle server) without taking it to single
user mode?

What I did:
1) Stop Oracle services on the system. 2) Load the
patches even though the README files require it to be
done on single user mode. 3) Reboot the system. 4)
Working fine. 

Bill R. Williams:
Warning:  This is pretty much opinion.  Opinion from
years of experience with various operating systems,
but opinion none the less.
I presume that you are referring to applying a patch
clusetr rather than one or two specific patches.  With
that assumption.. Possible? Yes. Good idea? No.
In addition to the recommendation that patches be
installed in single user mode, you most likely will
find that more than one of the patches is going to
require a reboot. 
The gist of it is that if your system is running you
are going to be replacing things that are in use. 
(Binaries, libraries, etc.) The new software will
replace all sorts of things including those which
affect device handling.  IOW:  the running system will
end up a mixed-bag of library call parameters and API
changes, etc.
It's just not a good idea if you can possibly help it.
Since you are going to have to re-boot to bring all
the modified software online, it's best to just wait
until you can take the thing down and follow the
recommended procedure of patching in single-user mode.
 Especially if you are running Oracle.  It can be
fussy and prone to tantrums.
Free Tip:  Read the READMEs!  From what an instructor
at a Solaris class once said, the biggest cause of
problems after applying a patch cluster is failure to
find the gotchas in the README files!

Wolfgang Schwurack:
I've been patching my servers - 70+ for over 5 year.
Most are production systems 24x7, I never take it to a
single user mode when doing patches.  I've never had a
problem patching when the servers are in production
mode, this includes oracle servers.

Weiss, Jeffrey:
Generally you can do this UNLESS it is a kernel patch
or for an OS critical driver, or a large cluster
containing a kernel patch.
The readme in the patch does say whether single user
is required. Applying a patch when a system really
should be in single user leaves that system unstable
and prone to spontaneous panic. Not a good thing
for an Oracle box! I made this mistake years ago. Only

You're probably going to be bombarded with the same
answer, but here you can definitely load the
patches to a prod system without taking it to single
user, I've done it a million times, but depending on
the app and the patches, some may not load, or some
may not load correctly and you risk getting stuck
having to reload the patches after the fact anyway.  
I've even ran across an instance on a Sun Cluster
environment where the SSP's had problems after the
patch cluster install because they were not in single
user mode.  Better safe than sorry.  You'll probably
need to reboot the server anyway for the patches to
take affect.  Good luck.

Wanderley, Alex:
It all depends what kind of patch are you installing.
Take a look at the README file which comes with the
patch. There you'll see if it has to be installed in
single user or not.

Christopher L. Barnard:
sure.  Just read the README of the patch carefully
first.  If it says in there that you need to reboot
after installing or install in
single-user, then you have to.  But if it does not
explicitly specify that, just take a look at the files
that will be changed and make sure that you are not
going to use that file when applying the patch.

Melissa Young
UNIX System Admin

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Received on Mon May 16 12:23:41 2005

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