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Wondering what more experienced ESX admins typically do...

I just brought our ESX hosts up to 3.5 Update 5 (Yes, I know we're behind still). I then applied the "Critical Host Updates" baseline in VMWare update manager, and found that we're still short on 14 "critical updates". My question is, do most people go ahead and apply any update flagged as critical, or do they evaluate each update one-by-one to determine whether or not the issue that has been addressed is likely to affect them.

In the SQL Server world (my alma mater, so to speak), we regularly apply service packs, and sometimes cumulative updates, but we only apply hotfixes when the issue that they are targeted towards affects us. Does the same logic hold fast in VMWare land?

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We're lucky, we have 1:1 reference copies of our production platforms to test new code on - we apply new code, test it then if successful roll it into production.

What I suggest you do is to set aside a server for testing new code on, make it run non-essential VMs on, make up you own patch application rules (i.e. immediately apply critical, roll up all others into monthly drops or suchlike), apply this rule to your 'test host', test and rollout the same rules into production after the test period (i.e. a few days or a few weeks depending on your testing).

That's how I'd do it.

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Thanks! Do you tend to apply only updates that are relevant to your environment, or everything? For instance, we aren't running iSCSI - is it worthwhile to take the time to exclude unrelated updates, or is the risk so low that I should just apply them? –  Aaron Alton May 20 '10 at 14:14
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I apply the lot; there could be module level interdependencies but the main reason is that if I ever wanted to suddely use something such as iSCSI I'd know it was up to spec and that it didn't need patching again. –  Chopper3 May 20 '10 at 14:31
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