The other component is yum itself, the client tool that provides all its direct functionality. Yum in its most current incarnation can:
Of these, probably the single function of the greatest importance is also the most mundane - automated updating. While the other functions are all very useful and convenient, these days it is essential to keep all clients in a network fully patched and current in order to keep them secure. However, this presents a serious dilemma - few organizations are structured so that any single administrative group has root privileges on all the computers in the organization, and in most cases this is a good thing.
Yum, however, is a network client pull tool and requires no centralized privileges on the client in order to function. Each client contacts the repository server and requests the download of all files the client requires to update itself. These downloads can be anonymous and public or authenticated by any mechanism supported by yum's urlgrabber utility. By scripting a nightly yum update, all of the students, the faculty, the staff, and the various departments of a University can maintain an interval of less than 24 hours between placing a critical security updated RPM in the repository and having it propagated to all the client systems, all without having any individual with ``super-root'' privileges on all of the systems being updated.