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sudo yum update and sudo yum update -y

what is effect of running above command ?
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sudo is used if you are not root.  It gives you root privileges

update would update the packages you want to update.

-y option is for 'yes'.  If you don't have it, it asks you whether you want to incorporate the changes, install the packages, etc.
To run yum, your yum repository should be properly configured.
'sudo' will only be available if the sudo command has been properly installed and configured. Not on every system will that be the case.

But you can use the 'su -c' command to replace it. This should work on practically every system for elevating your privileges. The above commands would then read:

su -c 'yum update'
su -c 'yum update -y'

More on the 'yum' command can be found in the manuals: http://www.centos.org/docs/5/html/yum/
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