Before you intend to update a SharePoint farm with a new Cumulative Update / Service Pack / Public Update. I advise you to check first the answers for the below questions:
- What’s the latest Cumulative update that is already installed on a SharePoint Farm?
- What’s the difference between Cumulative update, Service Pack, Public Update?
- Why and When you should patch your farm?
- What’re the prerequisites for installing a new Cumulative update?
- How can you install a new Cumulative update, Service Pack, and PU?
In this article, I’ll answer the above questions.
What’s the Farm Patch Level / latest Cumulative Update that is already installed on SharePoint Farm?
You can get the farm build version through the following methods:
(1) Get the Farm Build Version via SharePoint Management Shell.
- Open SharePoint Management Shell as administrator.
- Run the following Cmdlet’
(2) Get the SharePoint Farm Build Version via Central Administration.
- Open Central Administration > System Settings > Manage Servers in this farm.
- Below Farm Information > Check the Configuration database version that is the farm patch level of the farm (Build Farm Version).
In some cases this version number is not updated after applying the CU, so it’s not considered a trusted version number. For more details check SharePoint patching demystified
(3) Get the Products and Patches build numbers that already installed on the farm.
- Go to Upgrade and Migration > Check product and patch installation status.
- You could check all the installed products in the whole farm or on a specific server.
- Check the install status and version columns for all installed Products/Patches.
(4) Get the Database build number within the farm.
- Central Administration > Upgrade and Migration > Review Database Status.
- Manage Database Upgrade Status > Click on Content Database name.
- Get the database Schema Versions.
(5) Get the Farm Build Version via SQL Server:
- Open SQL Server Management Studio.
- Open the Content Database > Versions Table.
- The Farm build number is the corresponding value of versionID start with ‘0000000-000’ that is ‘15.0.4569.1000‘.
- The version table also shows the Database Sequence build number that is ‘126.96.36.199‘ & ‘188.8.131.52‘.
After you get the farm build version, you’ll be able to get its corresponding release.by browsing the below links based on your SharePoint version.
- For SharePoint 2010 Build Version Number.
- For SharePoint 2013 Build Version Numbers.
- For SharePoint 2010/2013/2016 Build Version Numbers.
Then search for the corresponding release with the farm build number as shown below:
In my case, the related release of my farm build number ‘15.0.4569.1000’ was SharePoint 2013 Service Pack 1.
What’s the difference between Cumulative Update, Service Pack, Public Update, etc.?
- SharePoint Cumulative Updates (CUs):
- Is an update accumulated only for a particular component in SharePoint product as (Excel Service, Search, …., etc. ).It includes fixes for problems that have been reported by the customer in a context of support cases.
- Server Packages (also known as “Uber” Packages):
- The “Uber” packages which are usually released with each CU not only include patches for the components updated in the current CU, but also all patches released for other components of the product. So they are very similar to a mini service pack.
- In the past, Microsoft always shipped a “Uber” package with every CU. But August 2014 CU was the first CU where no ” Uber” package was released.
- Public Updates (PUs):
- Public Updates are also cumulative updates – but only include those packages which include updates which should be distributed to all customers. Public updates are either security fixes or other fixes which are recommended to be installed by all customers as they address issues which affect many users. A public update is always a subset of a CU, and CU is a subset of Uber Package.
- SharePoint PUs are cumulative – so installing the Excel Services PU from March will also apply the changes to Excel Services included in February PU and also all other fixes which were added to the same package in previous CUs. But as March PU does not ship any changes for the Search component it will be required to also install January PU to ensure that your system is properly patched with all public updates.
- Critical On Demand Fix (COD)
- Is a fix which is provided only to a small number of customers affected by a critical problem directly through Microsoft Support to provide quick relief. The code change in the COD will be included in one of the next CUs, and it is advised to install that CU on top of the COD as soon as it has been released.
- Service Pack:
- Is a combination of previously released fixes, fixes which have only been released in a context of the service pack and potentially new functionality added to the product.Each service pack sets a new patch baseline while CUs don’t set such a baseline. The patch baseline is the starting point for patching. Looking at the second picture above (the one explaining the “Uber” packages) you can see that the CU only included fixes for Search but not for any other component. The reason is that no fixes have been released for other components since the patch baseline was defined. When a service pack is installed on the server, the patch baseline is set to this service pack.
For more details check SharePoint patching demystified
Why and When you should patch your farm?
Why: Every Month, Microsoft has been releasing a new update to satisfy their customer requirement by adding new improvements or solving a known security, performance issues.
Therefore, you should follow up the monthly release to recognize the new improvements and the fixed issues to optimize your organization farm.
It’s not recommended to apply the latest Cumulative Update that released on the current month, It was launched a short time ago, no much people try it.
When: Sometimes, you might face an issue in your farm that couldn’t be solved unless installing the appropriate update on your farm.
Therefore, it’s recommended to install the CU that will solve a specific issue in your farm, by checking the improvements and issues that should be fixed before applying the cumulative update.
It’s not recommended to install SharePoint update on production environment until tested on dev/test environment.
What are the prerequisites for installing a new CU for a SharePoint Farm?
SharePoint Server 2013 SP1 is a prerequisite to install all the coming cumulative updates.
You should also read the prerequisites section in the release page.
The SharePoint Server 2013 Service Pack 1 does not include the Language pack Service Pack 1, So you should apply Language pack Service Pack 1 separately after applying SharePoint Server 2013 Service Pack 1 to avoid the below error.
The expected version of the product was not found on the system.
How can you install a new Cumulative update for a SharePoint Farm?
The SharePoint should be updated through two steps:
- Download and Install the package update like CU, Service Pack, PU …etc.
- As I elaborated before, you can download the corresponding release of the farm build by clicking on KB number e.g.,”2817429″ to get more details about the release like description, Improvement, Known Issues, Download link and prerequisites.
- Run the SharePoint Configuration Wizard.
You should make sure that you have already performed a full backup before starting the update process because you can’t rollback the Cumulative Update Installation.
To run the SharePoint configuration wizard via PSConfigUI.exe
- Log in to the main application server that hosts the Central Administration with a Farm account.
- Go to Start menu > Type SharePoint Configuration Wizard.
- In step 9, you will note that it’s performing an upgrade to SharePoint Products.
Start to run the SharePoint Configuration Wizard on the main application server that hosts the central administration.then continue with other servers at the same time without order.
To run the SharePoint Configuration Wizard via SharePoint Management Shell
- Log in to the main application server with a Farm account.
- Open SharePoint Management Shell as Administrator.
- Run the following PSConfig.exe command
PSConfig.exe -cmd upgrade -inplace b2b -force -cmd applicationcontent -install -cmd installfeatures
- Repeat all the previous steps on all SharePoint servers in the farm.
When SharePoint Configuration Wizard has been finished successfully on each SharePoint Server in the farm, you should
- Go back to the Central Administration > Upgrade and Migration > Check upgrade status.
Recall: you can’t rollback the CU installation.
- Ensure that the status of each server is succeeded.
If the upgrade process failed, you should check the logs and try to solve the root cause of the faiuler. In the worth case, you don’t have other option rather than restoring the farm backup.