Common Question: What is the difference between a PU, a CU and a COD?


As I received this question a couple of times in the past here a short summary of the different update types used with SharePoint:

  

Service Pack

What is it: A service pack is a combination of previously released fixes, fixes which have only been released in context of the service pack and potentially new functionality added to the product.

What is included: new fixes, new functionality, all previously released fixes (older Service Packs, CUs, PUs)

Multilingual: No. You need separate Service Packs for each installed language

What is the prerequesit: Usually there is no prerequesit to install a service pack.

When to install: it is recommended to evaluate and install Service Packs as soon as possible.

Impact on future fixes: CUs and PUs released more than 12 months after the last service pack can only be installed if the Service Pack has been installed before

Installation Sequence: no specific sequence. You can install a service pack on top of CUs and PUs released later.

Release Cycle: no specific release cycle

 

Cumulative Update (CU)

What is it: A cumulative update includes fixes for problems with our product that have been reported by customer in context of support cases.

What is included: new and all previously released fixes (CUs and PUs) since the oldest supported service pack (within the first 12 month after a Service Pack has been released the CU includes also fixes released after the previous service pack)

Multilingual: Yes. The CU package includes fixes for all languages.

What is the prerequesit: The oldest supported service pack. Within the first 12 months after releasing a SP you can install on the latest SP and the previous one. CUs released more than 12 months after the newest SP require the newest SP to be installed.

When to install: CUs should only be installed to resolve specific issues fixed with the CUs as mentioned in each CU KB article: "Apply this hotfix only to systems that are experiencing the problems described in this article. This hotfix might receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, we recommend that you wait for the next software update that contains this hotfix.". Or if adviced to install by Microsoft Support.

Impact on future fixes: In general a CU is not a prerequesit of future CUs and PUs. But in some situations a CU can be a prerequesit of a COD (see below).

Installation Sequence: no specific sequence.

Release Cycle: every second month (February, April, June, August, October, December) – since June 2014 CUs are released every month.

 

Public Update (PU)

What is it: A public update usually includes security fixes for the product or fixes for problems which affect a broad number of customers.

What is included: please review the KB article for each public update in detail to see which fixes are included.

Multilingual: Yes. The PU package includes fixes for all languages.

What is the prerequesit: Usually the oldest supported service pack. Within the first 12 months after releasing a SP you can install on the latest SP and the previous one. PUs released more than 12 months after the newest SP usually require the newest SP to be installed.

When to install: As a PU includes security fixes it is recommended to evaluate and install PUs as soon as possible.

Impact on future fixes: In some situations a PU can be a prerequesit of future CUs and PUs. E.g. the March 2013 PU for SharePoint 2013 will be a prerequesit for all future CUs (and potentially PUs) for SharePoint 2013.

Installation Sequence: A PU can only be installed on a system which does not already have the included fixes applied through another source – e.g. through an earlier released CU. As PUs are advised to be installed by all customers while CUs should only be installed by customers affected by one of the fixes incuded in the CU the test cycle for a PU is much longer than for a CU. That means a PU released in March can be superseeded by a CU released earlier (e.g. February CU or December CU). Also in some situations a CU requires an earlier released PU to be installed first – otherwise the fix will not install.

Release Cycle: once a month (if required)

 

Critical On Demand Fix (COD)

What is it: A 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 a 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.

What is included: only the specific fix for a specific issue.

Multilingual: Usually not.

What is the prerequesit: Usually the CU that was used as the baseline to develop the COD. Microsoft Support will provide guidance which CU is required to be installed as a prerequesit for the COD.

When to install: Only if advised by Microsoft Support.

Impact on future fixes: A COD will not have an impact on future CUs or PUs. But the next CU can potentially revert the the code change introduced in the COD. See Installation Sequence.

Installation Sequence: As the COD will be released as soon as possible to a small number of affected customers. It might happen, that the next CU released shortly before or after the COD will not include the code change introduced by the COD. Customers which need the fix in the COD have to wait for the CU which will include the fix included in the COD. Microsoft Support will provided guidance on which CU can be installed on top of a COD.

Release Cycle: on demand

 

Comments (68)

  1. Excellent says:

    Excellent article, Very well writtenb and highly commendable.

  2. Thanks says:

    it's very helpful! Thank you!

  3. Gadget Girl Jen says:

    Thanks Stefan!  Plan to pass on to User Groups, ISV's and customers.  

  4. Rob Z says:

    Hi Stefan – Just to be clear, this applies to SP 2013 and 2010, correct?

    Also, are MS monthly security notifications considered a PU, things like the SP 2010 bulletin that just came out (MS13-024)?

  5. Great Stuff!  Thanks

  6. Maulik Patel says:

    Perfect and Nice Explanation !! Thanks a lot !!

  7. Anonymous says:

    As many times used in our daily business, we’re used to ask for “Build number” rather

  8. Anonymous says:

    Following my tradition in presenting a summarized "Build Numbers Cube Sheet" as I did so before

  9. BlueSky2010 says:

    Good reference material – thanks Stefan!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Updated 20/Dec/2013 Be aware that all Updates for SharePoint 2013 require March 2013 PU for SharePoint

  11. Anonymous says:

    As usual, here is the Bi-monthly CU Release. please find all info below. Some links or updates may not

  12. Anonymous says:

    Well, we were familiar from SharePoint 2010 and MOSS 2007 the bi-monthly "cumulative updates"

  13. RichK says:

    Very helpful. thanks.

  14. Anonymous says:

    As usual, here is the Bi-monthly CU Release. please find all info below. Some links or updates may not

  15. Anonymous says:

    Following my tradition in presenting a summarized "Build Numbers Cube Sheet" as I did so before

  16. Anonymous says:

    When Microsoft performs an Exchange Risk Assessment Program ( ExRAP ) with a customer there are several

  17. Anonymous says:

    Be aware that all Updates for SharePoint 2013 require March 2013 PU for SharePoint 2013 to be installed

  18. Anonymous says:

    Be aware that all Updates for SharePoint 2013 require March 2013 PU for SharePoint 2013 to be installed

  19. Anonymous says:

    With some delay, here is the June 2014 CU Release for SharePoint 2013 Server, please find all info below

  20. Anonymous says:

    You are reading right, we have the first monthly cumulative update package for SharePoint Server 2013

  21. Anonymous says:

    NOTE! All Updates for SharePoint 2013 requires either the March 2013 PU or SharePoint Server 2013 SP1

  22. Anonymous says:

    Starting with the July 2014 CU, the release cycle is now every month rather than the Bi-monthly cycle

  23. Anonymous says:

    Our SharePoint product group released the next monthly cumulative updates. This month we will have the

  24. Anonymous says:

    SharePoint 2010 Build Numbers Cube Sheet
    As many times used in our daily business, we’re used

  25. Anonymous says:

    SharePoint 2010 Build Numbers Cube Sheet
    As many times used in our daily business, we’re used

  26. Anonymous says:

    Well, we were familiar from SharePoint 2010 and MOSS 2007 the bi-monthly "cumulative updates"

  27. Anonymous says:

    Our SharePoint product group released the next monthly cumulative updates. This month we will have the

  28. akash mehra says:

    There is one thing i want to ask…could we apply the service pack or cu on SharePoint 2007 which is already expired?

  29. Hi Akash,

    sorry I don’t understand the question.
    What do you mean by an expired SharePoint 2007?

    Cheers,
    Stefan

  30. Anonymous says:

    Our SharePoint product group released the next monthly cumulative updates. How patching works for SharePoint

  31. Anonymous says:

    Note! Since July 2014, the release cycle is now every month! Any CU’s published later than June 2013

  32. Anonymous says:

    Since July 2014 CU, the release cycle is now every month rather than the Bi-monthly cycle. NOTE! All

  33. Anonymous says:

    A equipa de desenvolvimento de SharePoint lançou o Pacote Cumulativo de Julho de 2014 para o SharePoint

  34. Anonymous says:

    A equipa de desenvolvimento de SharePoint lançou o Pacote Cumulativo de Agosto de 2014 para o

  35. Anonymous says:

    A equipa de desenvolvimento de SharePoint lançou o Pacote Cumulativo de Setembro de 2014 para

  36. Anonymous says:

    A equipa de desenvolvimento de SharePoint lançou o Pacote Cumulativo de Outubro de 2014 para o

  37. Anthony Picot says:

    Tank you for this information !

  38. Anonymous says:

    Our SharePoint product group released the next monthly cumulative updates. How patching works for SharePoint

  39. Tom Pfister says:

    The Feb 15 CU being pushed out via WSUS brought me here. Great info, BUT this statement regarding CUs is one of the reasons new SP admins have so much trouble wrapping their heads around this patching paradigm; "What is included: new and all previously
    released fixes (CUs and PUs) since the oldest supported service pack (within the first 12 month after a Service Pack has been released the CU includes also fixes released after the previous service pack)"
    This is NOT entirely true, and in fact is completely misleading based on your explanation in your Aug 2014 Blog "SharePoint patching demystified" where you explain that a CU only contains the previous released fixes FOR THOSE COMPONENTS that have a fix in this
    current CU. For instance the Feb 14 CU includes a fix for Word Automation Services so it includes all previous CU fixes for WAS but if a previous CU also included a fix for other SharePoint services those are not included in the Feb 15 CU.

    Personally I think MS is doing us a disservice labeling these as SharePoint CUs when it would be much clearer to receive a patch for SharePoint Word Automation Services. Just my $.02 worth.

  40. Hi Tom,
    the article was referring to the Uber package which I document in each CU and which we release with each CU (with two exceptions so far).
    Cheers,
    Stefan

  41. Anonymous says:

    A equipa de desenvolvimento de SharePoint lançou o Pacote Cumulativo de Novembro de 2014 para

  42. Anonymous says:

    A equipa de desenvolvimento de SharePoint lançou o Pacote Cumulativo de Dezembro de 2014 para

  43. Anonymous says:

    Our SharePoint product group released the next monthly cumulative updates. How patching works for SharePoint

  44. Anonymous says:

    A equipa de desenvolvimento de SharePoint lançou o Pacote Cumulativo de Fevereiro de 2015 para

  45. Chintan says:

    Nice article. Thank you so much 🙂

  46. Sid says:

    Hi Stefan,
    Does your article mean that if i apply Sep 2014 CU for SP 2010, it will address all the security bullitens that MS released till Aug for Sharepoint?

    Here is the list of bullitens for 2014:
    https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/security/dn654573.aspx

  47. Hi Sid,
    September 2014 CU includes all the SharePoint related security bulletins up to September 2014.
    Cheers,
    Stefan

  48. Anonymous says:

    Our SharePoint product group released the next monthly cumulative updates. How patching works for SharePoint

  49. Mahantesh says:

    Very helpful….!!!

  50. Anonymous says:

    Note! Since July 2014, the release cycle is now every month! Any CU’s published later than June 2013

  51. Anonymous says:

    This Month CU has been released with a full server packages, a.k.a. "Uber Packages" – so this

  52. Henning says:

    Hi Stefan,

    thanks for detailing the different kinds of updates and giving some guidance on how and when to apply updates.

    As the original article is dated 2013, I'm wondering of the guidance in respect to installing CUs only when you're affected by certain issues is still up-to-date or if one should always install CUs when they are released?

    What if I'm affected by an issue, but I haven't really nailed my problems with SharePoint? If I don't know what's causing some behavior, how should I know if I should install a certain CU?

  53. Hi Henning,
    the guidance still applies.
    We recommend a test environment to verify all fixes before applying to production. Here you can verify if an issue has been addressed by the latest CU or not and you can also verify if any new issues are introduced with the CU which affect your specific configuration.
    Cheers,
    Stefan

  54. Anonymous says:

    Our SharePoint product group released the next monthly cumulative updates. How patching works for SharePoint

  55. Anonymous says:

    Our SharePoint product group released the next monthly cumulative updates. How patching works for SharePoint

  56. Anonymous says:

    I’m presenting a summarized "Build Numbers Cube Sheet" as I did so before, so please find

  57. Anonymous says:

    The product group released the July 2015 Cumulative Update for the SharePoint 2013 product family.

  58. Anonymous says:

    Our SharePoint product group released the next monthly cumulative updates. How patching works for SharePoint

  59. Anonymous says:

    I’m presenting a summarized "Build Numbers Cube Sheet" as I did so before, so please find

  60. Dave Abel says:

    good job laying this out Stefan, thanks for your time.

  61. Anonymous says:

    Our SharePoint product group released the next monthly cumulative updates. How patching works for SharePoint

  62. Anonymous says:

    The product group released the August 2015 Cumulative Update for the SharePoint 2013 product family.

  63. Anonymous says:

    I’m presenting a summarized "Build Numbers Cube Sheet" as I did so before, so please find

  64. Anonymous says:

    I’m presenting a summarized "Build Numbers Cube Sheet" as I did so before, so please find

  65. PCM says:

    Nice information..! Thanks..!!