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Being able to update the shared modules folder in a multi-site Drupal installation is amazingly easy, but I am wondering, what are some best practices when it comes to that?

Updating modules on a live environment when multiple sites are affected can be bad if a module has some sort of bug or if it's incompatible with something you were unaware of, correct? Usually we like to perform quality assurance on sites after a module update has been performed, but that starts to become a hassle once there are many sites under one core.

Assuming the sites/all folder is synchronized between development and live environments, pushing a site live is specially an interesting experience - since we want to make sure that all of the modules are updated. Sometimes these modules are in the shared modules folder, meaning it would affect every remaining multi-site as well. Then, in that case the only solutions I can imagine at the moment would be to either:

Push the site live without updating any of the shared modules - Perform updates on the live environment periodically when everyone is available to do Quality Assurance. Perform module updates everytime a new site is pushed live. In this scenario, quality assurance would have to be performed on every site under multi-site - every single time a new site is pushed live. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks for your help, guys!

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I always run with a Dev mirror copy of the Live site and test all modules here before updating the live site with those modules, do this and test the site thoroughly. Make sure the dev and live environments are identical or as close to identical as possible.

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  • That's a good suggestion, Daniel. Does that mean that every time I'm about to push a site to the live environment I have to make a complete copy of my multi-site folder from live to dev, as well as all of their databases and replicate that in a development environment? – Helen Vasconcelos Jun 28 '13 at 13:49
  • The more the two sites have in common, the more accurate the results will be. This takes more time than just copying over the updates and hoping for the best, it depends on how critical uptime for the sites are, or if you have any leeway for maintenance downtime. If uptime is a must then yes keep these two near identical as you can, including database structure, then you can be 99% confident that what happens on the dev site is reflective of what will happen on live also. Might I also add, did you know you can have site specific modules folders? incase some incompatibilities did arise. – Daniel Waters Jun 28 '13 at 13:52
  • I see. Yes I'm aware of that. Our team even talked about possibly having sites not share any modules among themselves (since this issue wouldn't arrise), but seems to me like it would kind of beat the purpose of multi-site. Thanks for your feedback, Daniel! I wish it'd be a little easier honestly. It'd definitely be time-consuming for me to transfer a complete copy of live to dev every single time we want to push a site. But it sounds like the best approach. – Helen Vasconcelos Jun 28 '13 at 14:11

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