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Zero Down Time Patching in SharePoint Server 2016

Print | posted on Thursday, August 04, 2016 7:48 PM

Zero Downtime Patching (ZDP) in SharePoint Server 2016 has a marketing heavy silly name, but it's actually sweetness on a stick.

Whilst I hate the name, it is accurate in respect to the basics of the new patching process and the changes made in 2016 to support it. Now as to whether a customer would actually perform real world patching operations with such an expectation is another matter entirely. Here's a hint: they wouldn't. There's a lot more to patching an environment than updating the bits of the software. Or there should be, otherwise you shouldn't be running the environment. Alas this is of course is not something Microsoft can have much influence on.

Regardless this is another one of those SharePoint 2016 "small" things with huge impact, especially for those who actually own and operate large on premises SharePoint deployments. It's all good.

Even better is that it's really simple and straightforward. Like all good features. No fuss, no mess. It just works.

But what isn't good is the legion of utter misinformation and claptrap promoted by those in positions of responsibility in the community who should know better. Myths such as MinRole is required, misnaming the components, and all the usual "we played with it on a simple VM rig and think we're experts" rubbish. You know the drill.

Luckily - chaps who actually know how it works, and what the real guidance should be, have put together a nice little video explanation and demonstration on this rather very impressive change in SharePoint. They also cover guidance for critical planning aspects such as Distributed Cache.

This is the one source of information on ZDP. Forget everything else. You can be confident of this source, and the fact they will take responsibility for any future updates.

Go check it out over at TechNet: https://technet.microsoft.com/EN-US/library/mt767550(v=office.16).aspx.

Very well played to Bob, Neil and Karl who put this together.

One question on this topic I get a lot at events and so on is: "Will we ever see this back ported to SharePoint 2013?". Now, I don't work for Microsoft so I can't answer that definitively, but I know enough to state it's basically not going to happen. if you want the goodness of the new mechanism, you should be planning to upgrade to SharePoint 2016 - which is effectively the new baseline for all future build iteration and servicing approaches. Yes of course the upgrade choice is more complicated, but in respect to ZDP it is the answer.