For the last few years I’ve tried to keep up with the patches released for SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013. Some days it feels like a full time job. This December had one of those days.
Patching got substantially easier when SharePoint 2010 came out. Patching SharePoint 2007 had some pitfalls, and patching SharePoint 2003 was downright confusing. It was not for people with weak hearts. For the most part, all the problems went away in SharePoint 2010. The biggest improvement was the introduction of the single file upgrades. What that meant was regardless of which SharePoint product you were using; Foundation, Server, or Project Server, you installed one patch and that was it. In SharePoint 2007 if you had MOSS you had to install the WSS patch and then the MOSS patch, and there were no errors if you didn’t. The first indication you got that something was wrong was MOSS being broken after the patch was installed. That was just not soon enough for most folks. Some people are really impatient.
Like I said, SharePoint 2010 fixed all that. Regardless of your version of SharePoint 2010, you downloaded one file and you were done. That spectacularness carried over to SharePoint 2013. For both versions you could go to either my SharePoint 2010 Builds page or the SharePoint 2013 Builds page and grab the file you needed. Life was good.
Then came “The Big Patch Rejiggering of December 2013.” Starting in December 2013, the patches for SharePoint 2013 are no longer a single file for each product. There have been two important changes:
1) SharePoint Server patch is now two files and you need them both. Microsoft published a KB article explaining the change. When you go to the download page you see this:
You need to download both files and extract them in the same directory to successfully install the CU. The reason given for this is because the size of the patch has gotten too large for one file. The first file is 441 MB and the second file is 1.717 GB. Together they exceed that magical number of 2 GB, which I’m guessing is the boundary. The October 2013 CU was 2144916952 bytes which comes out to 1.997 GB after you divide by 1024 a couple of times. Currently the largest SharePoint 2010 CU (December 2013 CU for Project Server) clocks in at a modest 1.2 GBs, so it’ll be a while until we have a problem there.
2) Project Server has been demoted from Cumulative Update to Hotfix. With SharePoint 2010, and SharePoint 2013 August 2013 and earlier, there was a separate CU for Project Server, and it contained the Foundation and Server components along with the Project components. October 2013 did not have a Project Server CU. The SharePoint Server CU was 1.997 GBs, so I’m guessing they couldn’t make a Project Server CU under 2 GB. Starting in December 2013 Project Server is a Hotfix that must installed in addition to the SharePoint Server CU. The December 2013 Project Server 2013 Hotfix requires the Project Server component be at at least the March 2013 PU level. After your farm is at that level you can install the December 2013 Project Server hotfix with or without the December 2013 SharePoint Server CU, though I’d recommend you keep them in sync. It doesn’t seem to matter which one you install first.
I hope that clears up the changes in the SharePoint 2013 patches. If you have any questions, leave a comment below.