Patchman

Patchman is a Linux Patch Status Monitoring System

View the Project on GitHub

Patchman

Summary

Patchman is a Django-based patch status monitoring tool for linux systems. Patchman provides a web interface for monitoring the package updates available for linux hosts.

How does it work?

Patchman clients send a list of installed packages and enabled repositories to the Patchman server. The Patchman server updates its package list for each repository and determines which hosts require updates, and whether those updates are normal or security updates. The web interface also gives information on potential issues, such as installed packages that are not from any repository.

Hosts, packages, repositories and operating systems can all be filtered. For example, it is possible to find out which hosts have a certain version of a package installed, and which repository it comes from.

Patchman does not install update packages on hosts, it determines and displays what updates are available for each host.

yum, apt and zypper plugins can send reports to the Patchman server every time packages are installed or removed on a host.

Source

The current source code is available on github:

https://github.com/furlongm/patchman

Dependencies

Server-side dependencies

python-django
python-django-tagging
python-django-extensions
python-django-bootstrap3
python-djangorestframework
python-debian
python-rpm
python-progressbar
python-lxml
python-argparse
python-requests
python-humanize

The server can optionally make use of celery to asynchronously process the reports sent by hosts.

Client-side dependencies

The client-side dependencies are kept to a minimum. rpm and dpkg are required to report packages, yum, zypper and apt are required to report repositories. These packages are normally installed by default on most systems. dnf is not yet supported.

rpm-based OS’s can tell if a reboot is required to install a new kernel by looking at uname -r and comparing it to the highest installed kernel version.

deb-based OS’s do not always change the kernel version when a kernel update is installed, so the update-notifier-common package needs to be installed to enable this functionality.

Usage

The web interface contains a dashboard with items that need attention, and various pages to manipulate hosts, repositories, packages, operating systems and reports.

To populate the database, simply run the client on some hosts:

$ patchman-client -s http://patchman.example.org

This should provide some initial data to work with.

On the server, the patchman command line utility can be used to run certain maintenance tasks, e.g. processing the reports sent from hosts, downloading repository update information from the web. Run patchman -h for a rundown of the usage:

$ sbin/patchman -h
usage: patchman [-h] [-f] [-q] [-r] [-R REPO] [-lr] [-lh] [-u] [-A] [-H HOST]
                [-p] [-c] [-d] [-n] [-a] [-D hostA hostB]

Patchman CLI tool

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -f, --force           Ignore stored checksums and force-refresh all mirrors
  -q, --quiet           Quiet mode (e.g. for cronjobs)
  -r, --refresh-repos   Refresh repositories
  -R REPO, --repo REPO  Only perform action on a specific repository (repo_id)
  -lr, --list-repos     List all repositories
  -lh, --list-hosts     List all hosts
  -u, --host-updates    Find host updates
  -A, --host-updates-alt
                        Find host updates (alternative algorithm that may be
                        faster when there are many homogeneous hosts)
  -H HOST, --host HOST  Only perform action on a specific host (fqdn)
  -p, --process-reports
                        Process pending reports
  -c, --clean-reports   Remove all but the last three reports
  -d, --dbcheck         Perform some sanity checks and clean unused db entries
  -n, --dns-checks      Perform reverse DNS checks if enabled for that host
  -a, --all             Convenience flag for -r -A -p -c -d -n
  -D hostA hostB, --diff hostA hostB
                        Show differences between two hosts in diff-like output
  -e, --errata          Download CentOS errata from https://cefs.steve-
                        meier.de/

Concepts

The default settings will be fine for most people but depending on your setup, there may be some initial work required to logically organise the data sent in the host reports. The following explanations may help in this case.

There are a number of basic objects - Hosts, Repositories, Packages, Operating Systems and Reports. There are also Operating System Groups (which are optional) and Mirrors.

Host

A Host is a single host, e.g. test01.example.org.

Operating System

A Host runs an Operating System, e.g. CentOS 7.1, Debian 8.4, Ubuntu 16.04

Package

A Package is a package that is either installed on a Host, or is available to download from a Repository mirror, e.g. strace-4.8-11.el7.x86_64, grub2-tools-2.02-0.34.el7.centos.x86_64, etc.

Mirror

A Mirror is a collection of Packages available on the web, e.g. a yum, yast or apt repo.

Repository

A Repository is a collection of Mirrors. Typically all the Mirrors will contain the same Packages. For Red Hat-based Hosts, Repositories automatically link their Mirrors together. For Debian-based hosts, you may need to link all Mirrors that form a Repository using the web interface. This may reduce the time required to find updates. Repositories can be marked as being security or non-security. This makes most sense with Debian and Ubuntu repositories where security updates are delivered via security repositories. For CentOS security updates, see the Erratum section below.

Report

A Host creates a Report using patchman-client. This Report is sent to the Patchman server. The Report contains the Host’s Operating System, and lists of the installed Packages and enabled Repositories on a Host. The Patchman server processes and records the list of Packages and Repositories contained in the Report.

Operating System Group (optional)

An OSGroup is a collection of OS’s. For example, an OSGroup named “Debian 8” would be comprised of the following OS’s:

Debian 8.0
Debian 8.1
Debian 8.4

Likewise, an OSGroup named “CentOS 7” would be made up of the following OS’s:

CentOS 7.0
CentOS 7.2.1511

Repositories can be associated with an OSGroup, or with the Host itself. If the use_host_repos variable is set to True for a Host, then updates are found by looking only at the Repositories that belong to that Host. This is the default behaviour and does not require OSGroups to be configured.

If use_host_repos is set to False, the update-finding process looks at the OSGroup that the Host’s Operating System is in, and uses the OSGroup’s Repositories to determine the applicable updates. This is useful in environments where many hosts are homogeneous (e.g. cloud/cluster environments).

Erratum

Errata for CentOS can be downloaded from https://cefs.steve-meier.de/ . These errata are parsed and stored in the database. If a PackageUpdate contains a package that is a security update in the errata, then that update is marked as being a security update.