On a Server and also on your own machine, kernel Upgrades can break already installed 3rd party Applications, since the application would have been compiled for use on a specific kernel, I find this to be particularly a problem with vmware and Virtual box, every time my system upgrades its kernel there are a few packages that i need to recompile to get to work, this is a real pain, and on your server can lead to serious problems. To stop yum from updating your Kernel
You can tell yum to skip kernel updates by adding kernel-* to the 'exclude=' option in /etc/yum.conf. if the exclude option does not exist simply add it, add in a line that says exclude=kernel-*
you can do the same for any package that you do not want to update, for example, I run a patched version of postfix on one of my servers, since ive included a quota patch when I compiled it , I do not want postfix to upgrade to an unpatched version. So to stop that particular server from upgrading postfix I simply added postfix to the 'exclude=' option in /etc/yum.conf
you can add multiple exclude options by simply adding exclude=app_name_to_exclude under one another.