Hotpatch released for Windows Server 2022 Datacenter Azure Edition — Redmondmag.com
Hotpatch released for Windows Server 2022 Datacenter Azure Edition
Microsoft on Wednesday announced the commercial “general availability” release of its Hotpatch capability for virtual machines, which only works with the Windows Server 2022 Datacenter Azure Edition product.
The Windows Server 2022 Datacenter Azure Edition product is obtained through the Azure Gallery and became commercially available in November. The Datacenter edition is described as “a special version of Windows Server designed to help you use the benefits of the cloud in combination with Azure Automanage for Windows Server”.
Hotpatch and reboots
Hotpatch is a feature of Azure Automanage, which automates virtual machine management tasks according to Microsoft best practices. Organizations can use Hotpatch to automatically apply patch updates to virtual machines, without rebooting, because patching occurs in memory. Apps continue to run uninterrupted, even when Hotpatch installs updates.
In fact, reboots are still part of the VM patching process, even when using the Hotpatch feature. Microsoft’s announcement and this document explain that Hotpatch only applies security patches that do not require a reboot in addition to a baseline Azure VM update (which does require a reboot).
These core Azure VM updates are analogous to the latest cumulative updates (security and quality fixes) that arrive on “Update Tuesdays” (the second Tuesday of each month) for IT professionals. that keep PCs and servers “on-premises”.
The Azure patch model
The Azure patch pattern appears to be somewhat different from Microsoft’s monthly patch cycle for on-premises machines.
Microsoft releases baselines for Azure, both planned and unplanned, which require restarts. Scheduled baselines are “refreshed with the latest cumulative update” approximately every three months. If something unforeseen occurs, such as the need to fix a zero-day software flaw, an unplanned baseline is applied, which also requires a reboot.
There may be four planned Azure baseline releases per year (requiring reboots), with multiple patches (no reboots) released between these intervals.
Even though the Hotpatch feature only applies security patches, the VM is still updated with patches when full base builds are applied approximately every three months.
Patching virtual machines is much faster with the Hotpatch feature, which uses smaller packages. A demo comparing the traditional patch approach with Hotpatch is available in Microsoft’s announcement, which offered a patch synchronization test.
Although Hotpatch sounds like an IT pro’s dream come true, it is specifically only available when using the Windows Server 2022 Datacenter Azure Edition product. This also requires using the Core deployment option with a Gen 2 VM image.
The Windows Server 2022 Datacenter Azure Edition product can be used with Microsoft’s Azure Infrastructure as a Service offering (virtual machines) or with Azure Stack HCI certified hardware products deployed on-premises.
“Windows Server performs best in Microsoft Azure, especially in combination with management capabilities like Azure Automanage,” said Thomas Maurer, a senior cloud attorney at Microsoft, in the announcement.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media’s Converge360 group.