How to Easy Manage Database Updates and Security Patches

Bart Oles

Database security requires careful planning, but it is important to remember that security is not a state, it is a process. Once the database is in place, monitoring, alerting and reporting on changes are an integral part of the ongoing management. Also, security efforts need to be aligned with business needs.

Database vendors regularly issue critical patch updates to address software bugs or known vulnerabilities, but for a variety of reasons, organizations are often unable to install them in a timely manner, if at all. Evidence suggests that companies are actually getting worse at patching databases, with an increased number violating compliance standards and governance policies. Patching that requires database downtime would be of extreme concern in a 24/7 environment, however, most cluster upgrades can be performed online. 

ClusterControl is able to perform a rolling upgrade of a distributed environment, upgrading and restarting one node at a time. The logical upgrade steps might slightly differ between the different cluster types. Load balancers would automatically blacklist unavailable nodes that are currently being upgraded, so that applications are not affected. 

Operational Reporting on Version Upgrades and Patches is an area that requires constant attention, especially with the proliferation of open source databases in many organizations and more database environments being distributed for high availability.

ClusterControl provides a solid operational reporting framework and can help answer simple questions like 

  • What versions of the software are running across the environment?
  • Which servers should be upgraded?
  • Which servers are missing critical updates?

Automatic Database Patching

ClusterControl provides the ability for automatic rolling upgrades for MySQL & MariaDB to ensure that your databases always use the latest patches and fixes. 

Upgrades are online and are performed on one node at a time. The node will be stopped, then software will be updated, and then the node will be started again. If a node fails to upgrade, the upgrade process is aborted. 

Rolling MySQL Database Upgrades

ClusterControl provides the ability for automatic rolling upgrades for MySQL-based database clusters by automatically applying the upgrade one node at a time which results in zero downtime.

After successfully installing the selected version you must perform a rolling restart - the nodes restart one by one.

ClusterControl supports you in that step making sure nodes are responding properly during the node restart.

Database Upgrade Assistance

ClusterControl makes it easy to upgrade your MongoDB and PostgreSQL databases by, with a simple click, promoting a slave or replica to allow you to upgrade the Master and vice versa.

Database Package Summary Operational Report

ClusterControl provides the Package Summary Operational Report that shows you how many technology and security patches are available to upgrade.

You can generate it ad-hoc and view in the UI, send it via email or you can schedule such a report to be delivered to you for example once per week.

As you can see, the Upgrade Report contains information about different hosts in the cluster, which database has been installed on them and in which version. It also contains information about how many other packages installed are not up to date. You can see the total number, how many are related to database services, how many are providing security updates and the rest of them. 

The Upgrade Report lists all of the not-up-to-date packages on a per-host basis. In the screenshot above you can see that the node 10.0.3.10 has two MongoDB util packages not up to date (those are the 2 DB packages mentioned in the summary). Then there is a list of security packages and all other packages which are not up to date.

Conclusion

ClusterControl goes an extra mile to make sure you are covered regarding the security (and other) updates. As you have seen, it is very easy to know if your systems are up to date. ClusterControl can also assist in performing the upgrade of the database nodes.

ClusterControl
The only management system you’ll ever need to take control of your open source database infrastructure.