The Microsoft.com solution
At the TechEd 2004 WIN 321 session (IIS Webfarm Tips and Tricks), they talked about how their trick for installing Hotfixes without reboots. My notes:
- Analyze Hotfix (INF files, Tlist, Filemon) - determine processes that need to be shut down
- Run Hotfix inside a wrapper (Kill processes, install hotfix, restart processes)
- Tricky process, tested thoroughly and roll out cautious and distributed
This is definitely a DIY approache, but it's at least a solution. I'm happy that - in general - patches don't require reboots as often as they used to. It's important to design your web apps that to run in a true webfarm with a session server, so you can take boxes offline for reboots without affecting users.
Why can't servers reboot faster than workstations?
I think there's a failure on the hardware end, too. If I buy a webserver, one of the most important features is minimal downtime, which should include quick reboots. Webservers should include bios presets for quick reboot mode, and the hardware should do whatever it needs to so that it can reboot faster than a workstation, not slower.