If you are a seasoned on-prem SharePoint Administrator, you know it’s a good practice to wait a few months after release before installing a cumulative update on your system(s). Microsoft has released several half-baked CUs in the past, creating an atmosphere of “let Mikey try it” (from an old Life Cereal commercial) as a good rule of thumb. Let some other SharePoint Admins struggle with a flawed system while Microsoft figures out what went wrong and releases a fix-it replacement CU.
Should be easy to do – don’t download the CU until you’re ready to deploy, right? Well, not so fast.
If your organization uses Microsoft’s automated software updates on its servers, you could be applying SharePoint cumulative updates during the monthly Windows OS updates! You would not be aware of it until you run an audit of SharePoint builds on your farms.
This is especially important when building a new farm or adding a new server to an existing farm! In the Advanced options for software updates, make sure the Update Options for other Microsoft products is set to “Off.”
Short of building a dedicated VM box with multiple instances for AD, SQL Server, and one or more SharePoint servers, and then securing a static IP account for real-world work and internet connectivity, CloudShare provides a reasonable alternative.
I’ve recently set up a CloudShare account (they are not compensating me for this plug…) to do some prototyping. They offer several plans, including a ‘pay by the drink’ plan where you are charged for memory usage (GB/hour) only when the virtual servers are running. You can connect to the servers through RDP, PowerShell, and a browser interface. The experience is best when you connect via RDP – much like being connected to a server within a closed environment. If you are comfortable with typical VPN, then you will be comfortable with this mode.
I’ll elaborate more after I’ve used it for a while and get a feel for how much it costs to use.
If you said “Chrome,” you’re wrong! Firefox? – Guess again!
Internet Explorer takes a lot of bashing, but it still leads the pack by a wide margin, according to running statistics kept by netmarketshare. Check it out and be surprised by the numbers.
IE is still very much needed for SharePoint (both on-prem and online), as some vestiges of Active-X are very much alive. Despite the drive to make SharePoint 2013 browser-agnostic, we may need to wait until the next iterations of SharePoint and Office to fully decouple this dependency.
Incidentally, on the topic of browsers, the former CEO and co-founder of Opera, Jon von Tetzchner, is the creator of a new browser named “Vivaldi“. Does the Internet need another browser? Technical preview versions for Windows, Linux, and Mac are available for download. Take a look and you be the judge. What do you think?