Automated Server Patching Weeknotes w/c 02.03.2020


  • Patching on our on premise and data centre infrastructure is currently done manually. The infrastructure team has recently spent six months on the reimplementation of a patching system. The main goal of this project is to automate this process for the future.
  • This work is part of the DevOps programme of work, which we are carrying out with the support of Digi2al. 
  • The team is made up of infrastructure engineers supported by Dan from Digi2al to upskill:
    • Frank Barnett (Product Owner)
    • Omar Al-Okaidi
    • Tim Samanchi
    • Daniel Finch (Digi2al)
  • This project kicked off at the beginning of February. I would like to quickly thank Ian James, who excellently kicked off this project and has been delivery managing while I wrapped up on other projects. Thanks Ian!

What have we done so far

  • The under-talked about but critical logistical issues on this project have been largely ironed out. Things like getting access to Github, AWS, setting up test environments and Python development environments have all been completed and are crucial to the success of the project.
  • The team has been very busy getting up to speed with new technologies. For most of them this is the first time that they have written scripts in Python or worked with RestAPIs so there has been a steep learning curve that Dan has been helping them to navigate through.
  • The team has also started the process of writing scripts that will automate some of the key tasks that are currently done manually such as creating reading the spreadsheet that server patching is scheduled using and connecting with iVanti’s security control. 

What have we done this week?

  • We have started on our second sprint, which included the usual scrum ceremonies.
  • We have internally agreed an approach to using CircleCI to deploy patches on On Prem servers. 
  • We have built the python module that will manage scanning the template. 

What next?

  • Finalising the situation with our CircleCI licenses.
  • Finalising architectural decisions with the security team
  • Writing python scripts to update patch templates and to scan templates

Previous show and tell slides:

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