Applying Kernel Patch Without Rebooting

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Applying Kernel Patch Without Rebooting

As a System Administrator, server uptime has much importance. The servers must be running as long as possible. While keeping this server uptime consistent, a System Administrator should also have to apply the patches and to maintain the reliability. If the patch is done for the kernel there may be a chance to reboot the kernel. Rebooting the kernel will result in the downtime of servers. The downtime will affect the business and there by it leads to the customer dissatisfaction. So here comes the importance of kernel patch without rebooting. The security patches required for the kernel is done live and without the need of rebooting.

In Essence, Live kernel patching is applying security patches to a running Linux kernel without the need for a system reboot.

Need of avoiding the rebooting

1. Patches can be applied to the kernel with less time and effort without resulting in a downtime.

2. Prevents security threats.

3. Does not affect the business and the customers.

4. Availability of the system can be maximized.

5. Applies security patches to running Linux.

Please note that Kernel itself should support the live patch and the system needs a client tool to retrieve kernel patches and load them.

It enables system administrators to apply critical security patches to the kernel immediately, without having to wait for long-running tasks to complete, for users to log off, or for scheduled downtime.


kpatch is a live kernel patching solution that allows you to patch a running kernel without rebooting the server or the system.


1. Apply critical security patches to the kernel immediately.

2. Scheduled reboot.

3. control over uptime.


The most important thing regarding the kpatch is that it is not a general purpose kernel upgrade mechanism. It is used for applying simple security and bugfix updates when rebooting the system is not immediately possible.


A systemd service called kpatch.service that is required by This service should be loaded while boot time and a command-line tool which allows you to manage patch modules.

Steps for working with kpatch

1. [[email protected] ~]# yum install kpatch
2. [[email protected] ~]# yum install kpatch-patch-7.0 1.el7.x86_64.rpm   Loaded plugins: fastestmirror

Please note that this step will work only if Live kernel patching capability is implemented via a kernel module (kmod) that is delivered as an RPM package. The kpatch utility is used to install and remove the kernel modules for live kernel patching.

3. [[email protected] ~]# kpatch list This command will show a output like as follows. Loaded patch modules: kpatch_7_0_1_el7 
Installed patch modules:
4. If a new version of the kpatch-patch RPM package is later released, upgrade the applied patch with yum. For example, to upgrade to kpatch-patch-7.0-2.el7.x86_64.rpm, run

[[email protected] ~]# yum update kpatch-patch-7.0-2.el7.x86_64.rpm Loaded plugins: fastestmirror Loading mirror speeds from cached hostfile
5.[[email protected] ~]# cat /proc/version   kernel-7.0-2-957el7
6.[[email protected] kernel-3.10.0-957.1.3.el7]# cp -r /usr/src/debug/kernel-3.10.0-957.1.3.el7/linux-3.10.0-957.1.3.el7.x86_64/* ~/linux.orig   [[email protected] kernel-3.10.0-957.1.3.el7]# cp -r ~/linux.orig/ ~/linux.kpatch
7. diff-u linux.kpatch/fs/proc/version.c>version.patch
8. kpatch-build version.patch This is for creating the patch module with kpatch
9. [[email protected] ~]# sudo /usr/local/sbin/kpatch load kpatch-version.ko
10. After completing the steps, you can check the version and it seems to be updated.


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