Staying up-to-date with the latest software releases is one of the biggest hassles for administrators of the cloud services. Downloading the latest software and performing frequent upgrades is even more cumbersome if downtime is involved in the process.

Azure Site Recovery provides a monthly release with the latest features and enhancements. This means one would need to plan for monthly deployment of the latest updates in order to stay current. To avoid the overhead Microsoft now allows users to choose to allow Site Recovery to manage updates of the components. When disaster recovery is enabled as per the architecture reference, a component known as mobility service agent gets installed on the VM. Once you enable automatic update, the Mobility Service extension gets updated automatically with every new release.

How does automatic update work

Once Site Recovery is configured to manage updates, a global runbook used by Azure services is deployed with an automation account created in the same subscription as the vault. Each vault uses one automation account. The runbook checks then for each VM in a vault and initializes an upgrade of the Mobility Service whenever a newer version is available.

The default setting of the runbook is configured to run daily at 12:00 AM as per the time zone of the replicated virtual machine. Users can modify the runbook schedule via the automation account. Further configuration options are available at the documentation page.

Enabling automatic updates doesn’t require a reboot of your Azure VMs, and doesn’t affect on-going replication. This capability is only applicable for disaster recovery of Azure VMs, and not for Hyper-V/VMware VMs.
Billing for jobs used by automation account is based on the number of job runtime minutes used in the month. By default, 500 minutes are included as free units for an automation account.

Enable Site Recovery to manage automatic updates

As part of the enable replication step

Users who enable replication for a VM by either starting from the virtual machine view, or from the recovery services vault, get an option to choose to either allow Site Recovery to manage updates for the Site Recovery or to manually manage them.

 

Enable replication configuration

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Toggle the extension update settings inside the vault

  1. Navigate to Manage -> Site Recovery Infrastructure inside the vault
  2. Under For Azure virtual Machines -> Extension Update Settings, click the toggle to choose whether you want to allow ASR to manage updates or manage manually. Click Save.

 

Configuration inside the vault

 

When you choose Allow ASR to manage, the setting is applied to all virtual machines in the corresponding vault.

Manage updates manually

1. If there are new updates available for the Mobility Service installed on your Azure VMs, you see a notification that reads “New Site recovery replication agent update is available. Click to install.”

 

Update notification

 

2. Select the notification to open the virtual machine selection page.

3. Select the VMs you want to upgrade Mobility service on, and select OK.

 

Update mobility pane

The Update Mobility Service job starts for each of the selected virtual machines.

Further reading