Failed to start service: Unit service not found -- Upgrading Ubuntu from 14.04 to 16.04

Just this week I decided I would finally make the jump from Ubuntu 14.04 to 16.04 on this server. (I try to stick with the LTS versions of Ubuntu so I never really spent any time in Ubuntu 15.04.) I went ahead and took a snapshot of my EBS in AWS (just in case something went wrong) and started the upgrade. After the upgrade completed and the server was back online... my blog was not. I use the Ember based Ghost blogging platform for managing my personal site and for some reason the service was not starting!

Now, I know that my service is started from a .conf file I created in /etc/init/ but no matter what, Ubuntu kept returning "Failed to start Unit not found". It turns out that between the LTS versions of Ubuntu, Canonical decided that 15.04 would be the start of a transition from upstart to systemd as the default for managing boot and system service startup.

My upstart scripts in /etc/init/ aren't super complex, so I could go ahead and begin rewriting these and transition to systemd, but it was past midnight and I had work the next morning. So, I took the quick and easy route to get up and running and switched back to upstart for my service initialization:

  1. sudo apt-get install upstart-sysv

  2. sudo update-initramfs -u

After a reboot, I was back up and running! And after I go ahead and transition these init scripts to systemd, I'll just need to install systemd-sysv and ubuntu-standard. That way I'll be ready for the next LTS upgrade :)