Set up update servers in the VMM compute fabric


This version of Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) has reached the end of support. We recommend you to upgrade to VMM 2022.

Learn about deploying update servers in the System Center - Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) fabric.

You deploy update servers in the VMM fabric to manage compliance and remediation for virtualization hosts, library servers, the VMM management server, PXE servers, the WSUS server itself, and any infrastructure servers. Learn more.

This article explains the prerequisites, information about how to add a WSUS server to the fabric, set up update baselines, run a scan, and create update exemptions.

Before you start

  • The WSUS server must be running Windows Server Update Service (WSUS) 4.0 or later and supported versions of Windows Server, as detailed in system requirements.
  • The WSUS server must be in the same domain as the VMM server, or in a domain with full trust.
  • VMM can use a WSUS root server or downstream WSUS server. You can't use a WSUS replica server.
  • The WSUS server can be dedicated to VMM or an existing server.
  • The WSUS server can be installed on the VMM management server, but if you'll be processing a large number of updates we recommend a separate server.
  • VMM can work with System Center Updates Publisher but only full content updates are supported. Metadata-only updates can't be added to a baseline.
  • After you add a WSUS server to VMM, you should manage it in the VMM console and not in the WSUS console. In VMM, you update the properties of the update server to configure a proxy server for synchronizations and to change the update categories, products, and supported languages that are synchronized by the WSUS server.
  • In VMM, administrators and delegated administrators manage fabric updates. Only administrators can manage the update server and synchronize updates. Delegated administrators can scan and remediate updates on computers that are within the scope of their user roles. Delegated administrators can use baselines created by administrators and other delegated administrators. But delegated administrators can't modify or delete baselines created by others.

Add a WSUS server to the VMM fabric

  1. Ensure that the server is running the WSUS role.
  2. Select Fabric > Home > Add > Add Resources > Update Server.
  3. In Add Windows Server Update Services Server, specify the name, port, and credentials of the WSUS server. The account needs admin rights on the server. Use an existing Run As account or create a new one. Specify whether you want to use SSL for connections.
  4. The WSUS server will be added to the fabric, followed by initial synchronization of the updates catalog. This could take a while. Monitor status in the Add Update Server and Synchronize Update Server jobs.
  5. After the server is added, you can update its properties to configure a proxy server for synchronization. In Fabric > Servers > Update Server > Properties, select the Proxy Server tab. Configure WSUS to use a proxy server when configuring updates, or update the port for an existing proxy server.
  6. In addition, you can select Update Classification to select the update classification that you want to synchronize, select Product to select the products that you want to include when synchronizing, and Language to select the supported synchronization languages.

After you've added the server, you can update the WSUS settings and perform manual synchronization in Servers > WSUS server name > Update Server.

Add WSUS servers that are managed in Configuration Manager

If you want to add an existing WSUS server from a Configuration Manager environment to the VMM fabric, you'll need to do the following:

  1. Create a collection in Configuration Manager and add any servers that you'd like to add to the VMM fabric.
  2. Exclude this collection from any software update deployments delivered by Configuration Manager. This ensures that VMM controls update management for the servers. You'll still be able to view compliance information for the collection in Configuration Manager reports.
  3. If you want to include VMM compliance information in Configuration Manager, create an update group in Configuration Manager that contains all of the updates for which you want to measure compliance for the machines that will be in the VMM fabric. This update group is only for reporting. Don't deploy it to the machines managed by VMM.
  4. Now add the WSUS server as described above.
  5. After adding the server, select Update Server > Properties > General > Allow Update Server configuration changes.

Create and assign update baselines

After you've added the WSUS server to the fabric, you can configure update baselines. An update baseline contains a set of required updates scoped to an object such as a host group, a standalone host, a host cluster, a VMM management server, or an infrastructure server.

  • Update baselines can be assigned to host groups and to individual computers based on their role in VMM.
  • Update baselines that are assigned to a host group are applied to all standalone hosts and host clusters in the host group, as well as the standalone hosts and host clusters in child host groups.
  • During a compliance scan, computers that are assigned to a baseline are graded for compliance with their assigned baselines. After a computer is found noncompliant, an administrator brings the computer into compliance through update remediation.
  • If a host is moved from one host group to another, the baselines for the new host group are applied to the host, and the baselines for the preceding host group no longer apply - that is, unless the baseline is assigned to both host groups. Explicit baseline assignments to a managed host stay with the host when it's moved from one host group to another. It's only when the baseline is assigned to a host group that baseline assignments get revoked during the move.
  • You can use two methods to prepare update baselines for remediation:
    • A VMM built-in update baseline: Sample Baseline for Critical Updates and Sample Baseline for Security Updates.
    • A custom update baseline.

Assign servers to a built-in baseline

  1. Select Library > Update Catalog and Baselines > Update Baselines.
  2. In Baselines, select the baseline you want to use.
  3. Select Home > Properties > Updates for the baseline. In Updates, add or remove baselines as required. To ensure all security updates are remediated, don't remove anything.
  4. Select Assignment Scope, and select the host groups, clusters, standalone servers, and infrastructure servers to add to the baseline. Or select All Hosts to add all.


We recommend that you don't update the servers in a Storage Spaces Direct cluster (either hyper-converged or disaggregated) by using VMM, as it might cause data loss.

Assign servers to a custom baseline

  1. Select Library > Update Catalog and Baselines > Update Baselines.
  2. Select Home > Create > Baseline for the baseline.
  3. In Update Baseline Wizard > General, specify a name and description.
  4. In Update, add the updates you want to include.
  5. In Assignment Scope, expand Host Groups and Infrastructure. Select the groups and servers you want to add.
  6. In Summary, select Finish, and accept the Microsoft License Terms if needed to install any of the updates. Verify the baseline in Library > Update Catalog and Baselines > Baselines.


We recommend that you don't update the servers in a Storage Spaces Direct cluster (either hyper-converged or disaggregated) by using VMM, as it might cause data loss.

Scan for update compliance

After you assign computers to an update baseline, you can scan them to determine their compliance status for the baselines. When a computer is scanned for compliance:

  • WSUS checks each update in the assigned update baselines to determine whether the update is applicable, and if the update is applicable, whether it has been installed.
  • After a compliance scan, for every computer, each update has a compliance status of Compliant, Non Compliant, Error, Pending Reboot, or Unknown. You can view compliance properties for additional information.
  • The compliance scan focuses only on the updates that the administrator has identified as important by adding them to a baseline. That enables organizations to monitor for compliance for what is deemed important for their organization.
  • The following changes can cause an Unknown update status for a computer and should be followed by a scan operation to access the computer's compliance status:
    • A host is moved from one host group to another host group.
    • An update is added to or removed from a baseline that is assigned to a computer.
    • The computer is added to the scope of a baseline.

To check compliance:

  1. Select Fabric > Servers
  2. In Home > Show, select Compliance.
  3. Since you haven't yet scanned computers, the compliance status will show as Unknown, with an operational status Pending Compliance Scan.
  4. Select the computers you want to check, and select Scan.
  5. While the scan is in progress, status will be Unknown. After it's finished, compliance status for each update will be Compliant, Non-Compliant, or Error.

Manage update exemptions

You can create update exemptions for specific machines. For example, if an update has caused the machine to be in an unhealthy state, you could uninstall the update out-of-band and then exempt the machine from the update until the issue is resolved. When the compliance scan runs next, the machine will show as Non Compliant.

  1. Select Fabric > Home > Show > Compliance. Then on the Fabric node, select Servers and navigate to the server you want to exempt.
  2. In the result pane, expand the update baselines for the machine and select the update to select it.
  3. Select Compliance > Compliance Properties.
  4. In Compliance Properties, select the update > Create.
  5. In Create Exemption, add notes about the reason and the expected exemption data. Change the update status to Exempt.
  6. After you've resolved the issue and you want to cancel the exemption so that the machine is compliant again, in Compliance Properties select the exemption > Delete > Yes.
  7. To return the server to a compliant state, select the non-compliant server and select Remediate on the Compliance tab.