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Friday, April 4, 2014

When Patience is a virtue: Why not to download the latest and greatest updates: SharePoint 2013 SP1 issues

I saw a post on Twitter today, warning folks not to install SP1 for SharePoint 2013. 

The original post:
If You Have Downloaded SP1 for SharePoint 2013, Don’t Install It
Microsoft's link:
SharePoint 2013 SP1 link

The message:
We have recently uncovered an issue with this Service Pack 1 package that may prevent customers who have Service Pack 1 from deploying future public or cumulative updates. As a precautionary measure, we have deactivated the download page until a new package is published.

In the summer of 2011 I attended a BASPUG (Boston Area SharePoint User Group) meeting where Scott Jamison of Jornata spoke about how the June 2011 CU was recalled and advised us against installing it.  This was my first introduction to CU's and the risks of deploying them right away. Since then, the April 2012 and Aug 2013 CU's were also recalled.  Source.

I had multiple discussions with the SharePoint Admins who mentored me and they advised always leaving your server 1-2 CU's behind.   So in this case, you wouldn't plan to install the latest CU until the next CU comes out.  But how long should you wait to install a service pack?  I would have guessed a month, but SP1 was released on Feb 25, 2014, so April 4 should have been enough time to find the bugs...apparently not.   The issue at hand is that newer CU's can't be deployed.  So is a good rule of thumb to wait until the next CU comes out?  Seems so, unless the latest update fixes a critical security issue (ah the old Consultant response "It Depends").

Like much in life these days, there are no black and white answers, but it is important to update your environment.  Here's a great guide for Update best practices  from Mark Wagner who likes to leave a 6-8 month lag.