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Date:      Wed, 2 Mar 2011 08:24:44 -0800
From:      Nerius Landys <nlandys@gmail.com>
To:        Ed Flecko <edflecko@gmail.com>
Cc:        freebsd-questions@freebsd.org
Subject:   Re: Finish upgrading remote server without physically being there?
Message-ID:  <AANLkTikq1-CKnwHRahTE+Ta5KLP=8qpUG8WzBrpP=d8n@mail.gmail.com>
In-Reply-To: <AANLkTin7sHXsLwBBUmHinDaB3FLOH25_CDy4v82gKFjw@mail.gmail.com>
References:  <AANLkTin39JjTsts2WwgDUV2QfZL745D0P3DqTkko8TFq@mail.gmail.com> <4D6E6B16.7010508@my.gd> <AANLkTin7sHXsLwBBUmHinDaB3FLOH25_CDy4v82gKFjw@mail.gmail.com>

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> Two questions -
>
> 1.) If rebooting into single user mode isn't obviously a
> requirement...I wonder why so many tutorials, books, etc. tell you to
> do this?

Dropping into single user mode is highly recommended especially if
you're upgrading from, say, 8.1 to 8.2 (a minor version upgrade).  If
you're upgrading for example from 8.1-p3 to 8.1-p4 ("patch" upgrade),
then what i normally do is, instead of the single user mode, I shut
down all processes that are safe to shut down and still allow me to
log in remotely.  For example, I'd leave sshd running, but shut down
all processes controlled by scripts in /usr/local/etc/rc.d/, and I'd
shut down things like ntpd, maybe even syslog and cron.

For you to get console access to a server where you want to go into
single user mode, a data center normally gives you KVM access, which
allows you to use a browser plugin to access your server's console.  A
KVM switch is an apparatus that connects to the VGA port and the PS/2
keyboard port, and one accesses its functionality over the internet.
Another way to do this, but is quite rare, is to log in via serial
console.  This requires you to configure serial logins to your server
(quite easy, but you should test it first) and it requires the data
center to somehow make it possible to log in via serial console.  That
is that part that is quite rare.

- Nerius



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