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The SharePoint Build to Build Update Playbook
Published Jan 21 2019 06:56 PM 4,043 Views

First published on TECHNET on Jan 21, 2018

The SharePoint Build to Build Update Playbook is a set of best practices, that can be used as a guidance for planning, preparing and executing SharePoint Update installations (CUs and PUs) so called Build to Build (B2B) updates. Main audience for this content are Administrators of mid-size and large SharePoint On-Premises Server Farms.

Microsoft Docs covers information about how to install SharePoint updates, you'll find all the important links at the end of this post. The SharePoint Build to Build Update Playbook is a great addition to the Docs content and can support Administrators in SharePoint update maintenance.

What is the SharePoint B2B Update Playbook?

Created by Premier Field Engineers, the Update Playbook was successfully used by Microsoft Premier customers. It is a ready to use blueprint, that covers important tasks that should be completed for a successful Update Installation.

So, let's have a look. What is it?

The Update Playbook and its tasks are structured into sections, that reflect the phases during patching projects of mid-size or large environments.

How can I get it?

You can download and share the SharePoint Build to Build Update Playbook:
SharePoint Build to Build Update Playbook

Who can use it?

Anyone responsible for installing SharePoint Updates may use this guide. Even experienced Administrators provided feedback that they could improve their patching game. If you are supporting a customer, who must apply a SharePoint Update, you can use it as well. This thing is going to reduce your preparation time for sure!

The ready to use playbook is generic and suits for most SharePoint environments right away.

Is it available in my language?

The SharePoint Build to Build Update Playbook is currently available in following languages (all included in the zip file on TechNet Gallery):

    • English
    • German

How to use it?

Once you downloaded it, make sure to carefully read and understand every single task. This is essential and important.

You should have a common understanding of SharePoint patching before starting to use the Update Playbook. My Munich Microsoft colleague Stefan Goßner has published some great in-depth articles about patching that you should be aware of before starting with the Update Playbook. Check out the links section at the end of this blog post.

If you are still uncertain on what exactly needs to be done, even with having this guidance with you, make sure to:

    • Contact your Microsoft Technical Account Manager (TAM) or your Premier Field Engineer (PFE) and ask for help (if you are a Microsoft Premier Customer).


    • Contact the Microsoft Partner, that supports you in all SharePoint related concerns (if you do not have a Microsoft Premier Support contract).

Can I modify the checklist?

Of course you can! The content of the Update Playbook reflects typical tasks that are performed during planning, preparing and executing SharePoint maintenance. Once you carefully read and understood all steps, you'll find out whether you must add further steps or change the checklist to match it to your environment. The Update Playbook suits for most environments right away, still I am aware that for certain farms additional changes or additions might be required.

Understand the update approach used in this guideline


Upgrade Content Databases first

Key aspect of the update concept used is to update Content Databases before starting the SharePoint Configuration Wizard on the first server. ​This is reducing the risk to run into common issues during updates and shortens overall maintenance time. Environments with many Content Databases will benefit from this approach. Why not finishing patching SharePoint much faster next time?

Why using this Update Approach?

Faster Update
Farms with a lot of Content Databases are updated faster by parallel database updates.

Less Issues
In the case of upgrade errors, the upgrade process does not get interrupted or stopped.

Better tracing
If errors occur during database upgrade, troubleshooting gets easier.

More Control
Update success is not related to PSConfig alone. You gain more control about updating databases and farm components.

And finally: Stefan recommends it!
Microsoft Patching SME Stefan Goßner promotes this approach in Microsoft Premier Workshops and community event presentations.

Zero Downtime Patching

Zero Downtime Patching as it is available in SharePoint 2016 can be used with the playbook. For SharePoint 2013 farms, you can minimize downtime by creating a streamlined patching sequence.

The update approach used in this guide supports zero and minimal downtime concepts. If you want to have zero or minimal downtime, a precise server and database patching sequence planning is required. Carefully complete playbook task Zero Downtime Patching/Side-By-Side Feature for SharePoint 2016 if you want to benefit from zero downtime patching.

Important links for your "Patching SharePoint" bookmark folder

There are some good sites that you must read if you are all new to patching SharePoint. Make sure to check Stefan's blog posts linked below and to subscribe his blog as this is a great resource for the subject.

Microsoft TechNet/Docs 
Install a software update for SharePoint Server 2013/2016/2019

Stefan Goßner's Blog Posts



The authors of the SharePoint Build to Build Update Playbook are a group of Microsoft Premier Field Engineers (PFEs). The SharePoint Build to Build Update Playbook should not be considered an official (Microsoft) product. It was created and published to help SharePoint Administrators to apply updates to SharePoint Server farms. All information provided in the SharePoint Build to Build Update Playbook is provided "AS IS" with no warranties and confers no rights. The SharePoint Build to Build Update Playbook does not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of Microsoft. All content is solely the opinion of the authors and provided with a best effort to be based in reality. All content, code samples, demonstrations, or anything resembling a "how-to" are provided "AS IS" without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability and/or fitness for a particular purpose.

Final Note

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‎Jul 22 2020 06:00 AM
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