Thank goodness Oracle Java only provides patches every other month because there are a lot of headaches involved with patching Java, unless, of course, you have a tool to help you do it – error free.
Problems with installing Java
Java is often wrought with errors when installing an update. Say you have a server with a browser open, Java will uninstall the old version but the install of the new version fails.
Here is what I mean. I deployed a JRE6 update 34 package to our WSUS server, and attempted to deploy it to my target systems. In the Task History, you can see that the update installation has failed because I did not make use of a tool to properly prepare the installation environment. As it turns out, Goto Meeting was open when I tried the install.
Install Java updates without errors
SolarWinds has a patch management tool, PackageBoot™, which enables you to patch Java updates error free. I’ll walk through the steps now – using JRE v6 update 34 package as an example.
Download & Publish JRE to the WSUS Server
First, I need to publish the JRE version 6 update 34 package. I downloaded the Java installer file from the Java download website. Patch Manager provides the Package Download Assistant to help you get directly to the right website and obtain the correct files.
In the center of the Package Download Assistant dialog is the URL of the Java download website. When I double-click it, I am taken directly to the JRE6 update 34 download page. Then I select the radio button and agree to the Oracle EULA, and download the JRE6 update 34 installation file for x86 systems.
When the download is complete, I click on the Import Source button. The filename is already populated in the File Open dialog. I go to the folder where I downloaded the file and click on 'Open.' The JRE6 update 34 installation file is verified and imported into our package definition and stored on the Patch Manager server.
Now I refresh the Sun® packages node to show that the JRE6 update 34 file is now downloaded. I right click and select 'Publish Packages,' and select the upstream WSUS server, or Software Update Point if using Configuration Manager, and click 'Next.' The package is now published to the WSUS server.
Identify Endpoints that Need the Update
After the client systems have checked-in and reported their state, I can identify the client systems that need this update.
I use the Update Management utility to deploy the update to those systems. The PackageBoot utility works in conjunction with the Java installer to ensure that the proper pre-installation environment is established so that the Java installation will complete successfully.
From the Active Tasks node I monitor the progress of the Java update deployment on the selected target systems. When the task is completed, I can review the success in the Task History. The Java update successfully downloaded and installed on this system.
This successful update is made possible because of the PackageBoot technology in Patch Manager. PackageBoot allows the execution of pre-installation tasks, such as starting/stopping services, terminating process, running programs, and testing for files with locks and terminating the processes that hold those locks. It also allows the execution of post-installation tasks such as starting/stopping services and running other programs.
Use PackageBoot in your next JRE update. Download a free 30-day trial.
Author Bio: Lawrence Garvin is a Product Manager at SolarWinds, a leading provider of network and systems management software based in Austin, Texas. Lawrence has a broad range of experience in systems management, network management, database management, and infrastructure architecuture. His 25-plus years of experience span both public and private sector organizations including the military, local government, retail, wholesale/distribution, non-profits, and software development. He has been recognized as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, and holds several certifications from Microsoft.