Best practices and what I should install now?


I got a question from a Premier Field Engineer asking me what is now the best way to patch SharePoint 2010?

In this blog we read that you only need to install one package for SharePoint Server 2010 but on the TechNet site we read a different story.

Example:

In http://blogs.msdn.com/b/joerg_sinemus/archive/2010/10/27/sharepoint-2010-and-october-cu.aspx we read:

SPS2010:
2394320 The full server package for SharePoint Server 2010 and contains also the MSF2010 fixes so you need only this one package.

On TechNet http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/ff800847.aspx we read:

However, there might be times where it is necessary to remove this flexibility in order to properly fix a specific issue. We recommend that you always install SharePoint Foundation 2010 patches before installing SharePoint Server 2010 patches. This best practice ensures that you will always be successful when installing updates.

Is that confusing? Yes it is and what are now the differences?

SharePoint contains a lot of different technologies and from a lot of different teams we will have code changes in each Cumulative Update (CU). At the end we will have a lot of “packlets” means smaller amount of fixed problems. Installing those “packlets” might reduce possible side effects with other components and also fewer risks if in other areas of the product a fix has side effects. Our product group is fixing specific issues for a single customer every day but lot of those fixes are also important for all customers worldwide.

The perspective from the Support organization:

We support our customers on all incoming issues and we have also to check on which patchlevel a system might be. If you install only one “packlet” and you run into an issues that was fixed in another “packlet” of the same CU we will have problems to find that out.

In the past we had a bunch of different hotfixes and it was a lot of work to find the right patches in the right packlet. In EMEA we have a lot of customers with also a lot of installed language packs so packlets are confusing a lot if you have an international installation.

Since we have our Full-Server packages we in Support and also a lot of our customers are having less head age when patching the SharePoint Server(s).

If you have a small English-only installation you might love smaller packages because it is definitely an overhead to download the big package when you just need that one particular hotfix.

Result of our last survey was fifty fifty for or against the Full Server Packages.

The author is Escalation Engineer for EMEA Customers and with the experience we had in the past how to patch SharePoint 2003 and MOSS 2007 after RTM we love our Full Server packages but we also understand customers who wants to install particular “packlets”.

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