Automated Patching for SQL Server on Azure virtual machines
Applies to: SQL Server on Azure VM
Automated Patching establishes a maintenance window for an Azure virtual machine running SQL Server. Automated Updates can only be installed during this maintenance window. For SQL Server, this restriction ensures that system updates and any associated restarts occur at the best possible time for the database.
- With automated patching, only Windows and SQL Server updates marked as Important or Critical are installed. Other SQL Server updates, such as service packs and cumulative updates that are not marked as Important or Critical, must be installed manually.
- To automatically install Cumulative Updates, review the integrated Azure Update Manager experience.
To use Automated Patching, you need the following prerequisites:
- Automated Patching relies on the SQL Server IaaS Agent Extension. Current SQL virtual machine gallery images add this extension by default. For more information, review SQL Server IaaS Agent Extension.
- Install the latest Azure PowerShell commands if you plan to configure Automated Patching by using PowerShell.
Automated Patching is supported starting with SQL Server 2012 on Windows Server 2012.
Additionally, consider the following:
- There are also several other ways to enable automatic patching of Azure VMs, such as Update Management or Automatic VM guest patching. Choose only one option to automatically update your VM as overlapping tools may lead to failed updates.
- If you want to receive ESU updates without using the automated patching feature, you can use the built-in Windows Update channel.
- For SQL Server VMs in different availability zones that participate in an Always On availability group, configure the automated patching schedule so that availability replicas in different availability zones aren't patched at the same time.
The following table describes the options that can be configured for Automated Patching. The actual configuration steps vary depending on whether you use the Azure portal or Azure Windows PowerShell commands.
|Automated Patching||Enable/Disable (Disabled)||Enables or disables Automated Patching for an Azure virtual machine.|
|Maintenance schedule||Everyday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday||The schedule for downloading and installing Windows, SQL Server, and Microsoft updates for your virtual machine.|
|Maintenance start hour||0-24||The local start time to update the virtual machine.|
|Maintenance window duration||30-180||The number of minutes permitted to complete the download and installation of updates.|
|Patch Category||Important||The category of Windows updates to download and install.|
Configure in the Azure portal
You can use the Azure portal to configure Automated Patching during provisioning or for existing VMs.
Use the Azure portal to configure Automated Patching when you create a new SQL Server virtual machine in the Resource Manager deployment model.
On the SQL Server settings tab, select Change configuration under Automated patching. The following Azure portal screenshot shows the SQL Automated Patching blade.
For more information, see Provision a SQL Server virtual machine on Azure.
For existing SQL Server virtual machines, open your SQL virtual machines resource and select Updates under Settings.
If you've never enabled the Azure Update Manager experience for any SQL Server VM in your portal, then select Enable to enable Automated Patching for your existing SQL Server VM.
If you've used the Azure Update Manager before, you'll need to go to the Updates page under Settings in your SQL virtual machines resource and then choose Leave new experience to go back to the Automated Patching experience:
After you've enabled Automated Patching and configured your patching settings, select the OK button on the bottom of the Updates page to save your changes.
If you're enabling Automated Patching for the first time, Azure configures the SQL Server IaaS Agent in the background. During this time, the Azure portal might not show that Automated Patching is configured. Wait several minutes for the agent to be installed and configured. After that the Azure portal reflects the new settings.
Configure with PowerShell
After provisioning your SQL VM, use PowerShell to configure Automated Patching.
In the following example, PowerShell is used to configure Automated Patching on an existing SQL Server VM. The New-AzVMSqlServerAutoPatchingConfig command configures a new maintenance window for automatic updates.
Update-AzSqlVM -ResourceGroupName 'resourcegroupname' -Name 'vmname' ` -AutoPatchingSettingDayOfWeek Thursday ` -AutoPatchingSettingMaintenanceWindowDuration 120 ` -AutoPatchingSettingMaintenanceWindowStartingHour 11 ` -AutoPatchingSettingEnable
Based on this example, the following table describes the practical effect on the target Azure VM:
|AutoPatchingSettingDayOfWeek||Patches installed every Thursday.|
|AutoPatchingSettingMaintenanceWindowDuration||Patches must be installed within 120 minutes. Based on the start time, they must complete by 1:00pm.|
|AutoPatchingSettingMaintenanceWindowStartingHour||Begin updates at 11:00am.|
|AutoPatchingSettingEnable||Enables Automated Patching|
It could take several minutes to install and configure the SQL Server IaaS Agent.
To disable Automated Patching, run the following script with the value of $false on the -AutoPatchingSettingEnable.
Update-AzSqlVM -ResourceGroupName 'resourcegroupname' -Name 'vmname' -AutoPatchingSettingEnable:$false
For information about other available automation tasks, see SQL Server IaaS Agent Extension.
For more information about running SQL Server on Azure VMs, see SQL Server on Azure virtual machines overview.