Given that we have several hundred servers (and growing), this process is taking an increasing amount of time each month. Over the years we’ve implemented various automated patching systems (WSUS, IBM BigFix, etc.) and they’ve worked reasonably well for managing the Download & Install step. The pain point lately has become the first two steps (snapshots and maintenance mode). Both processes are simple to complete using the VCenter web-based user interface and SCOM console. The problem is the volume of button clicks it takes to complete the process for ALL of the servers. Using the standard (web) user interfaces, over an hour of the monthly maintenance window can be lost to just getting the snapshots and maintenance mode tasks completed. Extrapolate that out over a year and we’re looking at over 1.5 DAYS of work-time lost to getting the servers ready to START applying updates. That’s not a statistic we want to publish to senior management. So, how to fix (or minimize) the problem? The answer to which is: Script It.
Let’s take a look at how to use PowerShell to automate the snapshot and maintenance mode tasks.
Read on for sample scripts.