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I would like to update our remote systems from CentOS 7.2 to 7.3. Is there an option that would only install the minimum number of packages required? The standard upgrade would involve downloading almost 800MB of packages.

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    install applydeltarpmto save bandwidth vs cpu cycles – Jacob Evans Apr 14 '17 at 18:55
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No. Not really.

If you're running the upgrade, that means new GLIBC and kernel and supporting packages will be downloaded and installed. In addition, any updates to the packages already present on the system will be downloaded.

This seems like an X-Y problem question. Why is downloading 800mb of packages a problem?

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  • Because we have hundreds of these nodes running in customer sites. It would be ideal to keep the updates minimal to minimize the update/downtime window. – user2066671 Apr 14 '17 at 1:09
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    Then you can create your own mirror of Centos repository, sync it by rsync every night and publish it on Centos site. – Mikhail Khirgiy Apr 14 '17 at 5:25
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    You don't even have to publish it. Most companies have internal mirrors of the public repos. This not only saves bandwdith, but allows you to sync snapshots to test environments, test the patches, then sync to other environments. – Aaron Apr 14 '17 at 15:41
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Look at the list of packages it wants to update. Remove any that you don't use and aren't dependencies of something you do use. Retry until satisfied with the download size, then deploy the resulting package removal command to the rest of your servers before upgrading them.

Use that same list to build future servers. No point installing software packages you aren't going to use hundreds of times over, much less keeping them all upgraded.

If nothing needs to be removed, then that 800 MB upgrade is your minimal upgrade.

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