I am having a hard time convincing the infrastructure team to turn off automatic updates on the SharePoint farm I have setup. It seems that regularly when automatic updates are applied, something stops working in SharePoint. Whether it is the config database failing to start, or workflows enter a locked state, or users being unable to access their mysite, or the search crawl database being corrupted. I have also noticed that the event log gets flooded with messages during the time the servers restart (6am), and i would rather have clean logs. Does anyone have automatic updates turned on and is not having issues with their SharePoint farm? Or should I just have set outage windows?
Although there is full support for automatic updates in SharePoint Foundation 2010, we never have automatic updates turned on for production servers.
We normally install patches manually, test them then roll them out within two weeks of release. You will still need to schedule a downtime window for updates due to reboots etc.
Obviously that requires discipline as far as the server admins are concerned but we would rather that than have downtime due to a failed update.
It is important that you work with your infrastructure team to apply patches on a set, predictable schedule. System updates have caused issues with SharePoint before, and will always have the potential to throw a wrench in the works with any application.
This is a production environment and anything that can cause downtime needs to be handled in a deliberate and controlled manner. This applies to your SharePoint content updates as well as server updates.
I am suprised that your infrastructure team would allow patches to be applied automatically. They should be released in a controlled manner, either manually or pushed at a set schedule through a patch management application. There should always be a rollback plan and a planned window of time that would allow for any worst case scenario to minimally impact the userbase.