SL7 server upgrades -- Research and Teaching Unit

Final Report for CompProj:359


The aim of the project was to upgrade all RAT Unit servers - and services - from SL6 to SL7.

This project specifically excluded the complex configuration comprising the lab exam environment, which involved many changes to components of the desktop environment -- but included the lab exam file servers. It excluded the Desktop and Research & Teaching package upgrades, which were separate projects.

Work was tracked using ServerUpgradeSL7 and and the SL7 RT.


Internal, which is to say all users of any Informatics system, DICE or otherwise.


  • All LCFG SL6 services to be reviewed and either decommissioned or upgraded to SL7.
  • All LCFG SL6 servers (physical and virtual) to be reviewed and either decommissioned or upgraded to SL7.




The project took ~48 weeks(!) FTE of combined CO and CSO time. It is likely that CSO time is under-reported. The project was undertaken primarily in 2016, with some work taking place in early 2017 and (discussions over) the final legacy servers carrying on until 2018.

Though various exclusions are defined above, it's hard to tell to what extent other SL7 upgrade projects overlapped with this one. In many cases SL7 upgrades were done piecemeal as part of other (software or host) upgrades, and effort allocation wasn't always clear in those cases. In other cases, time spent decommissioning a service - which might normally have gone unrecorded - would have been allocated to his service.

It appears that the bulk of this mammoth effort of upgrading was simply due to the time consuming nature of the upgrade process, and sheer number of servers we manage - the numbers of which do not normally weigh so heavily upon us due to the power of our configuration management system.

It's also clear that there was a unit tendency to allocate routine operational effort into this project, if it in any way assisted in the process of migrating to SL7. This is not to say that the figure is an overestimate; more just a note that reporting time and effort in a uniform way over multiple years is a difficult task in itself.


Most services were ported without issue, though late project reporting has lost many of these details to time. Interesting details, where they can be recovered from notes, are listed below.

Service Detail

research servers: *

flybrain servers: this is a small cluster of research servers with unique constraints on uptime, storage and service complexity whose upgrade was difficult to schedule.... *


Complete, with exceptions noted above.

Future Work

Debian, one would assume.

-- GrahamDutton

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Topic revision: r3 - 30 Jan 2019 - 15:50:35 - GrahamDutton
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