How to schedule and manage your SAS hot fixes

January 7, 2021
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This post was kindly contributed by SAS Users - go there to comment and to read the full post.

This is the last of three posts on our hot-fix process, aimed at helping you better manage your SAS®9 environment through tips and best practices. The first two installments are linked here:

Having a good understanding of the hot-fix process can help you keep your SAS environment running smoothly. This last installment aims to help you get on a schedule with your hot-fix installations and provides an example spreadsheet (available for download on GitHub) to manage hot fixes.

Schedule hot fixes

As an administrator, sometimes applying outstanding hot fixes can be a daunting task. However, the longer you wait, the worse your situation becomes—with a potentially unstable environment and a growing backlog of hot fixes to apply. With a little careful planning, the task can become routine and everyone involved will be much happier. The next sections outline a strategy for getting on a quarterly schedule.

Run the SASHFADD tool

The first step of getting on a quarterly schedule to apply hot fixes is to run the SAS Hot Fix Analysis, Download and Deployment (SASHFADD) Tool. For information about running this tool and analyzing the report it generates, see the first two installments in this blog series, The SAS Hot Fix Analysis, Download and Deployment (SASHFADD) Tool and Understanding the SAS Hot Fix Analysis, Download and Deployment Tool Report.

Once you review the SASHFADD report, you will have a better understanding of what resources will be needed to apply the outstanding hot fixes. You also need to decide which philosophy of installing hot fixes you want to follow. For more information, see Which hot fixes should I apply?

Coordinate with IT

The second step is to coordinate the process with your IT department. Before you take the system offline to apply hot fixes, IT typically wants to do the following:

  • Perform a full system backup.
  • Check for scheduled jobs and make necessary adjustments.
  • Decide the best time to stop SAS services.
  • Evaluate how long the system will need to be offline.

After the first session of applying your hot-fix backlog, all these tasks can run on a regular (preferably at least quarterly) schedule that won’t require as much analysis time from IT.

Communicate with end users

Before you implement the plan that you and the IT department devised, you need to communicate with your end users. Let them know ahead of time (maybe by a week) when the outage will occur, what they need to do to prepare for it, and how long it will take. It’s a best practice to perform the update outside of regular business hours.

Reap the benefits

When you follow a quarterly schedule of applying hot fixes, there are many benefits:

  • The administrator is more experienced from installing hot fixes regularly, so the process goes more smoothly and takes less time.
  • The IT department has an established process in place for backing up the system and taking it offline for the maintenance.
  • End users know what to expect and are not surprised by the outage.
  • The system runs better and is protected from vulnerabilities due to the regular schedule of updates.
  • There is less downtime because there are fewer hot fixes to install with each update.

Manage hot fixes

Applying hot fixes can often be a complicated process with multiple steps before and after you install them. So, a key aspect of successfully applying hot fixes is ensuring that you follow all the steps that are included in the SASHFADD report. A great tool for managing this complexity is a spreadsheet!

Download one I created and customize it:

SANDY’S SPREADSHEET | DOWNLOAD IT NOW

This tool allows you to see and then check off (through highlighting, color coding, or notes) each of the steps to get the best results.

Administrators will have different approaches to their spreadsheets. Mine, linked above, is the result of much trial and error. Here are the items that I keep track of in my spreadsheet:

  • Hot-fix number
  • Hot-fix dependencies
  • Pre-installation steps
  • Post-installation steps
  • Special notes

Another benefit of the spreadsheet is that you can group steps together so that you can do them all at once. Here are some examples of when you can group steps to save time:

  • When performing the Rebuild Web Applications step, you can select the SAS® Marketing Automation, SAS® Marketing Optimization, and/or SAS® Deployment Manager web applications to be rebuilt in one iteration.
  • When performing the Deploy Web Applications step, you can select the SAS® Marketing Automation, SAS® Marketing Optimization, and/or SAS® Deployment Manager web applications to be rebuilt in one iteration.

Helpful resources

See the following links for the detailed and thorough documentation:

I hope that this blog series has been helpful to you! Have a terrific day!

READ PART ONE | The SAS Hot Fix Analysis, Download and Deployment (SASHFADD) Tool
READ PART TWO | Understanding the SAS Hot Fix Analysis, Download and Deployment Tool Report

How to schedule and manage your SAS hot fixes was published on SAS Users.

This post was kindly contributed by SAS Users - go there to comment and to read the full post.

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