Microsoft Rescinds Windows Update Policy for SharePoint Server
Microsoft has rolled back its policy, established last month, of pushing SharePoint Server product updates through Windows Update.
At least, that appears to be what Microsoft's Stefan Gossner stated in a blog post on Monday. Gossner, who regularly writes about SharePoint Server update releases, referred to "the patch delivery strategy for Office server products" in his post, but he likely just meant SharePoint Server. Here is the new policy change, as described by Gossner, which takes effect this month:
As of March 2015, all Office product updates will be offered via Microsoft Update except for non-security updates for server products. Individual and "uber" server product updates will be published only to the Microsoft Download Center and customers can download/schedule/plan/test accordingly.
Please note that this does not affect security fixes for server products as they will continue to be available via Microsoft Update.
In response to a question in his post, Gossner clarified that "now the decision was made to only release security fixes through Windows Update."
In other words, the new policy is now the same as the old one. Microsoft won't push down product updates through its Windows Update service. The rollback decision may give IT pros some peace of mind as they regain a modicum of control over their production environments. The main problem with getting SharePoint product updates (called "non-security updates" by Gossner) through Windows Update is that the service will automatically install the "important" ones, which can be a potential complicating factor if no testing was performed beforehand.
Todd Klindt, a SharePoint Microsoft MVP, also interpreted Gossner's post as indicating that Microsoft has now rolled back the Windows Update policy change for SharePoint Server. It's back to the old process.
"The thing I took away from Stefan's blog post yesterday was that everything they changed in February was rolled back," he stated in an e-mail. "It's going back to the way it was two or three months ago."
Product updates, including cumulative updates and so-called "uber packages" (also known as "mini-service packs") will get delivered through the Microsoft Download Center. The Microsoft Download Center doesn't push updates, so IT pros have the time to test them before deployment.
"Microsoft/Windows Update is a push system," Klindt explained. "The Microsoft Download Center is pull. You have to go out and download them. It's the way it was before last month's deal."
Klindt advocates against using Automatic Update with Microsoft's Windows Update service for organizations that run production environments. And even Microsoft says that IT pros are responsible for testing updates before deploying them.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.