Microsoft has announced the general availability of Azure Update Manager, a service designed to manage and oversee updates for Windows and Linux software on Azure virtual machines (VMs), VMs on other cloud platforms, and on-premises infrastructure. This release signifies Microsoft's commitment to providing a unified platform for update management across various environments.
Features and Capabilities
Azure Update Manager, previously known as the Update Management Center, offers a plethora of features. It supports automatic VM guest patching in Azure, hot patching, and allows users to define custom maintenance schedules. Furthermore, it has evolved from Azure Automation Update management solution, bringing in new features and functionalities for assessing and deploying software updates, whether on a single machine or at scale. Unlike its predecessors, Azure Update Manager has eliminated its dependency on Log Analytics agent or Azure Monitor agent. Instead, it leverages the Microsoft Azure VM agent for managing update workflows on Azure VMs and the Azure Connected Machine agent for managing Arc-enabled servers.
Transitioning to Azure Update Manager
With the commercial release of Azure Update Manager, organizations might contemplate transitioning from the Azure Automation Update management solution. However, Microsoft's documentation of Azure Update Manager advises against making the switch immediately. The document states, “Update Manager can manage machines that are currently managed by Azure Automation Update management feature without interrupting your update management process. However, we don't recommend migrating from Automation Update Management since this preview gives you a chance to evaluate and provide feedback on features before it's generally available (GA).” Given that Azure Update Manager has now reached the GA stage, this advice might be subject to revision.
Cost Implications and Feedback
Azure Update Manager is available at no additional charge for managing Azure VMs. However, for Arc-enabled Servers, there's a charge of up to $5 per server per month. Some users have expressed concerns regarding this additional cost, especially since it was previously free with Microsoft's earlier management product. In response, Microsoft clarified that this cost is separate from the Machine Configuration cost and pertains specifically to Azure Arc.