Classifying Updates

WSUS updates are separated by product family, product, and update classification. A product family is a grouping of products (e.g., Microsoft Office). Products are the different versions of an application or operating system within a given product family (e.g., Microsoft Office 2003 and Microsoft Office XP are separate products within the Microsoft Office product family). Update classifications define the type of update. Each product has many different classifications of updates. For example, the Microsoft Windows XP product includes critical updates, service packs, and security updates classifications (to name a few).Table 6.3 explains the different products and product families supported by WSUS.Table 6.4 explains all of the update classifications.

Table 6.3 Understanding the Products and Product Families of WSUS

Product Family

Product

Exchange

Exchange 2000 Server

Exchange

Exchange Server 2003

Office

Office 2002/XP

Office

Office 2003

SQL

WMSDE

Windows

Windows 2000 family

Windows

Windows Server 2003 family

Windows

Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition

Windows

Windows XP 64-bit Edition Version 2003

Windows

Windows XP family

Windows

Windows XP x64 Edition

Table 6.4 Understanding the Update Classifications of WSUS

Update Classifications

Explanation

Connectors

Software components to support connections

between different software.

Critical Updates

Fixes for specific problems relating to critical bugs

not related to security issues.

Development Kits

Software to help when writing new applications.

Typically contains an editor, compiler, and visual

builder.

Drivers

Software components to support hardware.

Feature Packs

Adds new functionality to an existing product.

Guidance

Technical guidance such as scripts and sample code

to aid in the deployment and use of a product.

Security Updates

Fixes for security related issues.

Service Packs

Contains all the critical updates, security updates,

and updates released for a product. May also contain

new features, although these are typically deployed

through feature packs.

Tools

Utilities for performing a specific task.

Update Rollups

Contains critical updates, security updates, and

updates in one easy-to-deploy package. Update

rollups are usually geared towards one area or com

ponent (i.e. security, Exchange, Internet Information

Server [IIS)].

Updates

Fixes bugs not related to security issues or considered

a critical update.

Understanding the different types of updates is critical to properly utilizing WSUS for your environment. It is easy to get confused when reading the difference between updates, security updates, and critical updates. Also, sometimes update rollups and service packs appear to be the same.

Technically speaking, updates, security updates, and critical updates all serve the same purpose, which is to update a product. Instead of grouping all updates together, Microsoft breaks them down into three categories—Critical updates, Security updates, and Updates. These fix a known problem that should not be left in its current state. Security updates (still considered critical in most cases) only fix security-related issues. Updates are where Microsoft puts the remaining updates that are not considered critical or security related. At a minimum, you should apply all critical updates and security updates.

Update rollups and service packs do similar things. They both group together critical updates and security updates into one easy-to-deploy package. What is the difference?

Understanding the different types of updates is critical to properly utilizing WSUS for your environment. It is easy to get confused when reading the difference between updates, security updates, and critical updates. Also, sometimes update rollups and service packs appear to be the same.

Technically speaking, updates, security updates, and critical updates all serve the same purpose, which is to update a product. Instead of grouping all updates together, Microsoft breaks them down into three categories—Critical updates, Security updates, and Updates. These fix a known problem that should not be left in its current state. Security updates (still considered critical in most cases) only fix security-related issues. Updates are where Microsoft puts the remaining updates that are not considered critical or security related. At a minimum, you should apply all critical updates and security updates.

Update rollups and service packs do similar things. They both group together critical updates and security updates into one easy-to-deploy package. What is the difference?

Service packs are used to deliver a large number of updates and new features in between product releases. Because of the high volume of updates contained in service packs, most customers have to do extensive testing before deployment. On the other hand, update rollups do not contain as many changes as service packs and typically require less testing. Service packs cover every component of a product. Update rollups are usually geared towards a particular component, such as IIS. Update rollups make it easy to keep your systems up to date between service packs without having to install each individual update.

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