1.1 Overview of Oracle Ksplice

Caution

The majority of the installation and configuration instructions in this guide apply only to Oracle Linux releases. If you plan to use Oracle Ksplice to patch the Xen hypervisor on Oracle VM Server 3.4.5, and later releases, refer to the documentation for the Oracle VM release that you are running for step-by-step instructions. For example, if you are running Oracle VM 3.4.5, see Updating Oracle VM Server With Oracle Ksplice in the Oracle VM Administration Guide for Release 3.4.

Linux systems receive regular security updates to core operating system components that necessitate patching and rebooting. Traditionally, applying such updates would require you to obtain and install the updated RPMs, schedule downtime, and reboot the server to the new package version, with any critical updates. However, as system setups become more complex, with many interdependencies, access to services and applications must remain as undisrupted as possible, as scheduling such reboots becomes more difficult and costly.

Ksplice provides a way for you to keep your systems secure and highly available by enabling you to update the running systems with the latest kernel and key user-space security and bug fix updates, as well as Xen hypervisor updates on Oracle VM Server 3.4.5, and later.

Note

When using Ksplice to patch the Xen hypervisor on Oracle VM Server 3.4.5 and later, the minimum version that is required is xen-4.4.4-196.el6.x86_64.rpm.

Ksplice updates the running operating system without requiring a reboot. Your systems remain up to date with OS vulnerability patches and downtime is minimized. A Ksplice update takes effect immediately upon application, which is different than an on-disk change that requires a subsequent reboot to take effect. However, note that on-disk updates are still required, even when using Ksplice, to ensure that package binaries are updated to the most recent version and can be used in the event that the system or processes are restarted. On-disk updates are handled by subscribing to Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN) or by using a local ULN mirror.

Oracle creates each Ksplice update from a package update that originates either from Oracle or from the open source community.