Drupal.org provides a number of pre-packaged distributions (e.g., Drupal Commons, DKAN, etc.) that allow users to get a fully-featured Drupal installation up and running in no time, but maintaining an installed distribution can be tricky. You may need to juggle distribution updates with contrib module updates, core updates, and your own customizations. If you aren't careful, it can become a maintenance nightmare!
The Drupal community has a few tools for dealing with common maintenance problems, but you'll be hard pressed to find comprehensive documentation on the matter. This blog post will make an attempt to codify best practices for maintenance of an installed distribution.
Let's start by establishing some goals. In maintaining an installed distribution, I'd like to: