New patch assistance for SharePoint is now available for IT experts who need to update SharePoint Servers.
This newly released patch, named the “SharePoint Build to Build Update Playbook”, is predominantly a best practices guideline based on collective advice from the Premier Field Engineers at Microsoft. The playbook will help IT experts plan, prepare, and execute installations and updates for SharePoint. According to Microsoft, this type of IT activity is part of the “Build to Build” (B2B) updates.
Available in both English and German, the new Excel-based playbook is available for download from the TechNet Gallery. The playbook is aimed to provide assistance to IT professionals who need to manage medium and large-scale SharePoint farms on a daily basis. A French version of the playbook will also be rolled out soon.
Before the playbook was made available to the public, it first had to go through field testing with the help of Microsoft Premier customers. These are customers involved in a Microsoft technical support program provided as part of Microsoft Support Services.
Apart from helping IT experts reduce common mistakes and speed up the updates of SharePoint Server installations, the playbook is a ‘generic’ system that can be applied to a majority of SharePoint environments. Users are also able to perform modifications on its task checklists. The playbook covers a comprehensive range of specifics including installation, updating, and many other tasks after an update is completed.
Although performing updates to SharePoint server farms may be a breeze for some IT experts, it is quite a complicated task to others. This is due to some of the inconveniences caused by features of the SharePoint updating system. For example, SharePoint is often in a league of its own, occasionally receiving “uber package” releases that are subsets of traditional service packs. Furthermore, the monthly release of SharePoint “cumulative updates” are often insufficient, only covering a few SharePoint components. Also, the article numbers of Knowledge Base articles can vary due to the SharePoint Foundation updates being shown on the SharePoint administrative console.
After performing cumulative updates on SharePoint farms, IT personnel need to run a Configuration Wizard program. Two wizard options are offered by Microsoft, which are PSCONFIG.EXE and PSCONFIGUI.EXE. The latter is the preferred tool of Microsoft. According to Todd Klindt, a Microsoft MVP, the old SharePoint bits are now replaced by the new Configuration Wizard.
Around three years ago, Microsoft tried to get users to apply the Windows Update patch service when performing cumulative SharePoint updates. However, this policy was withdrawn by the software giant after a month.
Following the introduction of the new SharePoint playbook, Microsoft has once again demonstrated its commitment towards providing ongoing support to industries and organisations that rely on its tools and services for running their daily operations. The technology giant also takes concrete steps of providing useful help to IT professionals, who form the IT backbone of organisations.
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