Next, determine if you're going to perform each installation interactively or perform the installations remotely....
Service packs are a major undertaking and can take a significant amount of time depending on the size and processing power of your SQL Server hardware. For large, mission-critical SQL Server instances, it is usually best to perform them manually and interactively (by sitting at the console or using Terminal Services) so you can watch for any irregularities and respond to them.
For less critical systems, you may wish to perform the service pack installations remotely and in bulk using the unattended installation files. However, the instructions for doing this are very complicated and require significant planning. If you decide to do that, please refer to the documentation that comes with the service pack for instructions on performing unattended, remote installations.
HOW TO PATCH SQL SERVER, PART 2
Step 1: Segregate your scan results
Step 2: Obtain service packs and prepare for deployment
Step 3: Deploy service packs
Step 4: Obtain hotfixes and prepare for deployment
Step 5: Deploy hotfixes
Step 6: Re-assess network
Step 7: Plan next assessment
Back: How to patch SQL Server, part 1
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Chip Andrews is the director of research and development for Special Ops Security Inc. and the founder of the SQLSecurity.com Web site, which focuses on Microsoft SQL Server security topics and issues. He is also the author of SQL Server Security.