I've almost finished reworking our software updates around the paradigms discussed in the last tow posts. I was thinking about putting together a nice write up explaining how I did it when I came across this fantastic Microsoft article on the subject:
I love how its all laid out almost like an elementary school math problem. One of my biggest failures in my initial approach to software updates with SCCM was the pursuit of a process that was 100% automated. Going the route outlined by Microsoft in the article above still requires you to be at the helm at least once a month to deploy the updates in your ADR. Turns out this is actually a good thing as it forces you to really examine what you're deploying every month. Plus you can use deployment templates to "semi-automate" the process f manual deployment which manages to eliminate a lot of the human error potential of that method. Maybe SCCM 2012 R2 will ease this burden a bit for further automation but (for now) this works.