Manage updates in Azure Stack Hub
Full and express updates, hotfixes, as well as driver and firmware updates from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) all help keep Azure Stack Hub up to date. This article explains the different types of updates, when to expect their release, and where to find more about the current release.
You can't apply Azure Stack Hub update packages to the Azure Stack Development Kit (ASDK). The update packages are designed for integrated systems. For information, see Redeploy the ASDK.
Update package types
There are three types of update packages for integrated systems:
Azure Stack Hub software updates. Microsoft is responsible for the end-to-end servicing lifecycle for the Microsoft software update packages. These packages can include the latest Windows Server security updates, non-security updates, and Azure Stack Hub feature updates. You download theses update packages directly from Microsoft.
Each update package has a corresponding type: Full or Express.
Full update packages update the physical host operating systems in the scale unit and require a larger maintenance window.
Express update packages are scoped and don't update the underlying physical host operating systems.
Azure Stack Hub hotfixes. Microsoft provides hotfixes for Azure Stack Hub that address a specific issue that's often preventive or time-sensitive. Each hotfix is released with a corresponding Microsoft Knowledge Base article that details the fixes in that package. You download and install hotfixes just like the regular full update packages for Azure Stack Hub. Hotfixes are cumulative and can install in minutes.
Before you update to the new major version, apply the latest hotfix in the current major version.
Starting with build 2005, when you update to a new major version (for example, 1.2005.x to 1.2008.x), the latest hotfixes (if any are available at the time of package download) in the new major version are installed automatically. Your 2008 installation is then current with all hotfixes. From that point forward, if a hotfix is released for 2008, you should install it.
OEM hardware-vendor-provided updates. Azure Stack Hub hardware partners are responsible for the end-to-end servicing lifecycle (including guidance) for the hardware-related firmware and driver update packages. In addition, Azure Stack Hub hardware partners own and maintain guidance for all software and hardware on the hardware lifecycle host. The OEM hardware vendor hosts these update packages on their own download site.
When to update
The three types of updates are released with the following cadence:
Azure Stack Hub software updates. Microsoft releases multiple full and express software update packages per year.
Azure Stack Hub hotfixes. Hotfixes are time-sensitive releases that can be released at any time. If you are upgrading from one major version to another (for example, 1.2002.x to 1.2005.x), the latest hotfixes, if any have been released for that new major version, are installed automatically.
OEM hardware vendor-provided updates. OEM hardware vendors release their updates on an as-needed basis.
Make sure you have installed the latest available OEM update version before installing the latest MS version.
To continue to receive support, you must keep your Azure Stack Hub environment on a supported Azure Stack Hub software version. For more information, see Azure Stack Hub Servicing Policy.
How to know an update is available
Notice of updates varies on a couple of factors, such as your connection to the internet and the type of update.
Microsoft software updates and hotfixes
An update alert for Microsoft software updates and hotfixes will appear in the Update blade for Azure Stack Hub instances that are connected to the internet.
If your instance isn't connected and you would like to be notified about each hotfix release, subscribe to the RSS feed.
OEM hardware vendor-provided updates
OEM updates depend on your manufacturer. You must establish a communication channel with your OEM so that you can be aware of updates from your OEM that need to be applied. For more information about the OEMs and the OEM update process, see Apply Azure Stack Hub original equipment manufacturer (OEM) updates.
Major version to major version
An update from major version to major version must be step by step: the current environment can only update to the next major version, and you can't skip a major version update.
For example, if your Azure Stack Hub environment is 1908.x, and the latest available update version is 2002.x, you should update from 1908 to 1910, then update to 2002.
Starting with build 2005, when you update to a new major version (for example, 1.2002.x to 1.2005.x), the latest hotfixes (if any) in the new major version are installed automatically.
Hotfixes within major versions
Within the same major version number, Azure Stack Hub may release multiple hotfixes. Hotfixes are cumulative; the latest hotfix package includes all past hotfixes for that version. For more information, see Hotfixes.
Once you know you have an update, apply it by using the following steps.
Plan for the update
Prepare your Azure Stack Hub to make the update process go as smoothly as possible so that there's minimal impact on your users. Notify your users of any possible service outage and then follow the steps to prepare your instance for the update. Be sure to follow all steps in the Azure Stack Hub pre-update checklist to ensure that you've completed the required prerequisites for applying an update. Also make sure to schedule an appropriate maintenance window for the update type being applied.
Before proceeding with the update, make sure that the culture session settings are set correctly using PowerShell. A culture is a locale for unmanaged code development. The information includes the names for the culture, the alphabet, the calendar, and formatting for dates and strings. For more information, see the CultureInfo class.
Upload and prepare the update package
For internet-connected Azure Stack Hub environments, Azure Stack Hub software updates and hotfixes are automatically imported into the system and prepared for update.
For internet-disconnected Azure Stack Hub environments and environments with weak or intermittent internet connectivity, update packages are imported into Azure Stack Hub storage via the Azure Stack Hub administrator portal. For more steps to upload and prepare the update package, see Upload and prepare an Azure Stack Hub update package.
All OEM update packages are manually imported into your environment, regardless of your Azure Stack Hub system's internet connectivity. For more steps to import and prepare the update package, see Upload and prepare an Azure Stack Hub update package.
Apply the update
Apply the update using the Update blade in the Azure Stack Hub portal. During the update, monitor and troubleshoot the update progress. For more information, see Apply an Azure Stack Hub update.
The update resource provider
Azure Stack Hub includes an update resource provider that handles the application of Microsoft software updates. This provider checks that updates are applied across all physical hosts, Service Fabric apps and runtimes, and all infrastructure virtual machines and their associated services.
As updates install, you can view high-level status as the update process targets the various subsystems in Azure Stack Hub (for example, physical hosts and infrastructure virtual machines).