Automating Lab Updates via Azure Update Management Center

by Dan Farrall

Last month Azure released Update Management Center into public preview, something I’ve been long awaiting to provide a unified view of updates across both Azure and Arc connected machines!

For me, this is the perfect opportunity to get my home lab machines enrolled to facilitate automatic monthly patching. A pre-requisite to this is that your machines must be Arc connected. If you need help with that check my guide here!

Once enrolled, we can get on with the fun stuff, automating the patching!

Head to the new Update Management Center and you should be able to see your on-boarded ARC machines already. Some of my machines have already been scanned, but if they haven’t you can run a quick Check for Updates on the top bar.

Next up I want to ensure I’m checking for updates regularly, the best way to do this is using the “update settings” option on the top hotbar. I’m going to enable a periodic assessment of all machines every 24 hours.

There are options for HotPatch and Orchestration here, but both are Azure Native VM options currently, I sure hope they come to non-azure native machines someday!

Next up I’m going to ‘Schedule Updates’ on the hotbar to create a maintenance configuration in Azure. You may have these already if you’ve been managing updates in Azure for a while.

I’m going to create a maintenance schedule to automatically apply these updates as soon as they become available. My main goal here is to ensure my lab is secure.

Now choose the machines you want to apply the maintenance configuration for, you can adjust this later if required, or better yet use Azure Policy to automate this!

Next up choose what security updates you want to apply. I’m only going to apply security updates here so i’m unlikely to break anything. The last thing I want is to come back to test something and find my lab in pieces after feature updates have been pushed! I’ll apply those when I’m ready to test them.

Finish up your maintenance configuration and you’re done! You have a fully automated patch management system running in Azure for FREE!

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