Slow RUG/ZMD on OES2 in the Enterprise?

Update, 20091023:  Please see post for more updated information…  back to the original post…

I got this question the other day from Steve: I use “rug up” to update all of my SLES/OES2 servers and it works great when it actually starts.. The problem is that if it has been a while since it has been run last you get a message that it is waiting for zmd to wake up…..

Ugh…  Rug…  I do not like rug.  It can be such a slug.  Why did it seem like rug/zmd was SO much faster in OES1 (SLES9-based) than in OES2 (SLES10-based)??

Personally I prefer zypper, as I’ve written in the past.  However, Novell indicates up and down in all of their documentation that rug really is the only tool for updating OES servers.  In fact, here are a couple quotes from the Novell documentation:

Novell supports two mechanisms for updating an OES 2 SP1 server:

  • The rug utility from a terminal prompt.
  • The Novell Updater from a GUI desktop.

Do not use the rug up command by itself to update an OES server. Always use the -t patch option

rug up -t patch SLES10-SP2-Updates OES2-SP1-Updates

So there you go.  You can do it the rug/s…l…o…w… way, or the completely un-scalable desktop “updater” way, and that way Novell will not get mad at you.  They actually mention that you can use you (yast online_update), but at your own risk; and once you use it you must *always* use it.

So the only real option for improving the performance of rug is with a “Subscription Management Tool” server (SMT server). At the time of this writing, Novell just released version 11 for SLE 11, but I have been using v10 for SLES10sp2.

SMT is a mysql/apache based service that basically acts as a proxy cache for the content up the updates/pools you need.  You configure it to go out overnight (or whenever you want) and get all the patches and such that you need for all your onsite servers, and those downstream servers no longer need to go all the way out to Novell for content!  Phew!  It dramatically speeds things up.

And though it is an inconvenience to *have* to run your own local SMT server, honestly it is your only real choice for performance improvement… and your only real choice if you want rug to wake up zmd and run in less than an unreasonable span of time… for now…



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  2. Jeff

    Very good point !
    I could not agree more. Patching a server should be simple but with OES in the picture it is like pulling teeth.

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