How proactive are people about keeping their Firmware/BIOS up to date on their systems. Here we are fairly good about it, any new builds kept to a standard model, updated at the first opportunity after any new release.
I've worked on sites though where the firmware is older than my school-going nephew. What are peoples opinions? Update only when there's a problem or keep up to date?
I tend to only update when the update actually addresses a specific problem, and then only after some serious testing on a non production box.
If you have hardware support with companies like Dell and HP they will insist that all FW is up to date before they send out replacement parts etc.
Yeh, i end up spending a lot of time building a test box from site spares to test firmware for stability before passing the info to the customer.
You'd be surprised how often it is the firmware. I've had many a 4am call to site that could have been fixed by a user doing the upgrade. I'm a pasty pasty man at this stage.
Usually I'll always update firmware/BIOS's where possible. I've never seen new issues caused by them, but I have seen plenty of issues solved by them, DVD drives in particular like them since they usually bring newer/better burning policies and support.
I normally install the Proliant Support Pack a month or two after it's been released. I just keep on eye on the HP forums/Google etc in case any problems are mentioned.
Getting down time is a nightmare in my place, so this is one luxury I do without.
Always. I research each interm release up to the lastest one and see if any of the changes along the way apply to me.
I actually used to be very good at updating firmware but not anymore, last time I done this it fixed the issue (PC wouldnt boot) so its worth doing for a lot of things as part of the troubleshooting process.
A good idea might be to ask whoever does your hardware support to upgrade the firmware (IBM UpdateXpress pack, Proliant SP etc...) on each system when they are working on any fault and get them to put levels in a spreadsheet etc.
Also decide on a standard level each quarter and put the latest release on any new builds. I brought the idea to the customer here and it has solved quite a few problems.
Yes, I can only get downtime at the weekend really, especially for firmware upgrades. Need to do all the servers in a HP P-Class bladecentre this weekend. PSP's etc.
Our place is terrible, even servers in the DMZ rarely get done. Have a 2003 machine out there at the moment with not even a service pack installed! The attitude here is "oh, it might break something so leave it alone"
In operational use (large server clusters) we like consistency but try to avoid unnecessary updates. We'll monitor what's available and apply important updates but we certainly won't be applying something that doesn't appear to have a tangible benefit.
Another major consideration is the ease and reliability of updates. If it's easy and 100% reliable to patch large numbers of machines then it becomes a lot easier decision to make. If you're dealing with hardware where it's not quite so clear cut then it potentially becomes an unacceptable risk.
I try to keep up to date with them but would say I'm usually a release behind unless they contain a fix I really need. Hard to get the down time sometimes.