How to keep multiple Ubuntu servers up to date

apt-daterProductivitySystem AdministrationSystem ManagementUbuntu

 How keep multiple Ubuntu servers up to date

Once you have over three Ubuntu servers or desktops to manage it can be really useful to have a tool to help keep all their packages up to date. Put simply, you can’t keep logging into to each computer, checking and installing updates manually. I am not talking about configuring Ubuntu in the first place (you would do this is Ansible / Puppet etc). I’m just talking about installing periodic package upgrades.

For me the specific technical requirements of this tool would be:

  • The ability to see the state of all servers on one screen
  • Granular control to upgrade a single or multiple servers at once.
  • Granular control to upgrade a single or multiple or all packages at once

The general user / business requirements would be:

  • A simple easy to use piece of software with fast learning curve.
  • Good security protocols.
  • Good value for money.
  • Well maintained
  • Open source (optional)

I did some research, I found and tested following tools:

  • apt-dater – This is my preferred solution. Apt-Dater is an easy to use command line tool. The command line apperance is actually an advantage over a web based system because you can actually ssh into the computer directly from apt-dater itself. I.e. you can can see the packages being installed and then ssh in to fix any issues if they occur. It is very easy to configure.   


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