Addressing Startup of services after patching

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    Hi fellow members

    I have got a question to understand how you address this problem that we have started to see since increasing our patching levels. I am sure someone out there must have run into a similar problem to what we are facing.

    So historically we used to patch our most critical servers manually which we found was taking a long time and now with zero day attacks and ransom aware becoming more common a decision was made to ensure WSUS patches are applied in a reasonable time to our whole server/client estate. We do this using WSUS and other third party patching tools to install and reboot servers early on a Monday morning (between 2am – 5am).

    Since we have introduced this we have run into some problems. The main problem is when servers are rebooted automatically as part of the patching, if the application relies on a database and/or the application was rebooted before the database it doesnt always make a successful connection as well as if after a reboot the services don’t start up correctly the application will fail for the end user and we sometimes need to manually start these up even though the services should automatically start following a reboot.

    We use VMware and use vApps to tie applications, database servers and other related back end servers but this is only good if it’s part of a planned maintenance with the vsphere farm, it doesnt help when the reboots happen as part of patching/windows/application updates. I know there is an option for VM monitoring within VMware but unsure if this would help us in this situation and whether that could cause more issues.

    We need to somehow find a solution to ensure that we can control the order of certain high critical services are started up after a patching reboot otherwise we will need to go back to manually patching which is something we don’t really want to do.

    Does anyone else have this issue, if so do you have any ideas of how we could address this?

    So far our best option for us to easily identify if services are down is to put our NOC in the DMZ and play with firewall rules to ensure this server can detect services which are down in the internal network or invest in a cloud NOC offering and perform monitoring this way.

    Any suggestions would be most appreciated.



    I had a similar issue. RicklesP made a suggestion as my attempt to delay the start via a batch file failed. Have a look:


    How big is your environment? Could it be worth outsourcing the patch process in a follow-the-sun style scenario, so you aren’t expecting your techs to work unsociable hours?
    By which I mean, if you’re in the UK, you could outsource to an Aus or NZ based company – 3am to 5am UK time is middle of the afternoon Aus time, so you wouldn’t need to pay out of hours rates, or time in lieu or however you handle overtime.
    Or a noc service like Inbay or continuum?
    Build up a runsheet or what they need to check and particular reboot orders

    It also depends on how you’re doing the patching and scripting and scheduliung


    One other suggestion would be to use a scheduled task script to install updates on, say, a SQL server, and a different scheduled time for the web server which relies on the SQL server. We do this routinely. As long as you know what your dependencies are, you should be able to plan the sequence without too much grief. The script called is mostly one I found on-line with some changes for our environment, and there’s a variation for anything with SharePoint on it. Said script will auto-restart the server after the update cycle is complete, but only if there’s a restart commanded for any reason. We stagger the DCs so there’s always at least one active throughout the update cycle period, and a service acct is used for the scheduled task so the authority exists throughout the domain. For any non-domain servers such as Exchange Edge Transport, the scheduled task is run as the local machine admin acct.

    I don’t have access to this scripting just now, but should be able to clarify or even upload early next week.

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