So something that the SharePoint team has been working towards for awhile has finally come to fruition in the August CU this year. In the past it could be a real pain trying to figure out what patches were actually needed to get the different versions of SharePoint up to date and patched to the latest and greatest. Not anymore. At least, not in the case of any of the SharePoint 2010 versions. Sorry 2007 admins out there, there are reasons that 2007 has not been able to do this yet, but that is outside the scope of this article.

As of the August CU, SharePoint Server Packages are now Consolidated based on what SharePoint products you have installed. Running Microsoft SharePoint Foundation (MSF)? How about Microsoft SharePoint Server or SharePoint with Project Server 2010? Well your life just got a whole lot easier. There is now a CU Server Package for each of these that includes all products. We have a CU for just Foundation, One for Server that also includes the CU for Foundation, and even one for SharePoint + Project Server that includes all the patches for all 3 products! Also included are the language packs, etc… So you should truly have one SharePoint patch to apply when it comes to CU’s. The key to figuring out which ones contain all the needed patches is to look for the term Server-Package. These are the ones the contain multiple hotfix packages. Here are the relevant links for the August CU Server-Packages:

Description of the SharePoint Foundation 2010 Cumulative Update Server Hotfix Package (SharePoint Foundation server-package): August 31, 2010

Description of the SharePoint Server 2010 Cumulative Update Server Hotfix Package (MOSS server-package): August 31, 2010

Description of the SharePoint Server 2010 and Project Server 2010 Cumulative Update Server Hotfix Package (MOSS server-package, Project server-package): August 31, 2010

So each CU now contains the patches for the its base or dependent products. For example, You can’t have Microsoft SharePoint Server without having Foundation installed, so the MSS Patches now include all fixes for Foundation. Project Server Relies on SharePoint Server, so it includes all the MSS patches as well, and since again, MSS depends on Foundation, it also includes the foundation packages. So the SharePoint + Project CU Server-Package contains the updates for all three.

The easiest way to verify this is to look at the Files listed towards the bottom of the KB articles for each package. Notice that in the Foundation Server Package, you have the file STS-X-NONE.msp listed with all the files and versions that it will update in SharePoint Foundation Server. Then look at the MSS and MSS + Project Server KB’s and notice that the same STS-X-NONE.msp is listed as part of each package with the same files and version numbers. So each package contains the patches from it’s base or dependent products.

So now your life should be much easier when managing your 2010 SharePoint environments, well, at least the patching piece should be easier. Also for those wanting some more guidance around patching SharePoint 2010 in general including limiting downtime for High Availability etc… here you go:

Software updates overview (SharePoint Server 2010)
This article provides an overview of the software update process for SharePoint Server.

Prepare to deploy software updates (SharePoint Server 2010)
This article helps you determine which approach to use to update the servers or server farms in your environment, and lists the steps that you must take before you can start to install the update.

Install a software update (SharePoint Server 2010)
This article contains instructions for installing a software update and upgrading your content to that level.