Watching for patches, service packs and revisions
Although keeping track of patches and revisions to operating systems and applications is usually seen as the province of system administrators or application administrators, it can be important to storage administrators as well.
According to Bill Peldzus, the storage consulting marketing manager for Imation's Storage Professional Services Group, one of the major causes of problems in installing storage systems is incompatibilities between the exact software and firmware configurations and the system. This is especially apparent in SANs, but it can be true in any storage system.
Part of the problem, Peldzus says, is that storage manufacturers are unable to check every possible combination and permutation of operating system and applications with their hardware, firmware or software. While something may generally work, there may be specific combinations that either aren't tested or simply don't work.
In tracking these down, it helps if the storage administrator has a complete list of all patches, service pack versions, and other revisions at his or her fingertips. Often the incompatibilities are known and trouble can be avoided or answers found more quickly with the information at hand.
Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums.
For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.
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The Practice of System and Network Administration
by Thomas A. Limoncelli and Christine Hogan
Online Price: $49.99
Publisher Name: Addison Wesley
Date published: August 2001
This book describes the best practices of system and network administration, independent of specific platforms or technologies. It features six key principles of site design and support practices: simplicity, clarity, generality, automation, communication, and basics first. It examines the major areas of responsibility for system administrators within the context of these principles. The book also discusses change management and revision control, server upgrades, maintenance windows, and service conversions.
This was first published in September 2001