How do you prefer Windows Azure Guest OS updates to happen?

The Windows Azure Team is contemplating some changes to Windows Azure guest OS update process in an effort to make it more convenient and intuitive for customers. I’m hopeful you can share with me how you want these updates to happen in the future, some background is below followed by link to a super short survey.

So before we get to those upgrade related questions, let’s get grounded with some terminology and facts that you’ll need to know in order to answer the questions accurately.

Let’s start out with that Windows Azure is a cloud services operating system that serves as the development, service hosting and service management environment for the Windows Azure platform. Windows Azure provides developers with on-demand compute and storage to host, scale, and manage web applications on the internet through Microsoft datacenters.

An instance of a role in a Windows Azure service runs in a virtual machine (VM). This VM has an operating system installed on it, which is referred to as the Guest Operating System (Guest OS). The Guest OS in Windows Azure is customized for the best performance in the Window Azure environment but is substantially compatible with Windows Server OS as well to enable a large number of Windows based applications to run on it.

When a user deploys a service on Windows Azure, the platform provisions the VMs needed by the service and deploys the Guest OS on it as the first step. Subsequently, all the other pieces of the developer stack and the service code itself is deployed on top of the Guest OS. Windows Azure team attempts to keep the Guest OS up to date with the latest patches available. To that end Windows Azure team releases a new Guest OS at a regular intervals.

Managing upgrades of the Guest OS (today)

In order to keep their service on the latest (and most secure Guest OS available), customers can specify the latest Guest OS version in their service configuration file (.cscfg) and perform an upgrade of their service. This triggers the platform to move all instances of all roles in the service deployment to use the specified Guest OS. This is done while maintaining the availability of the service as whole.

Managing upgrade of the Guest OS updates (future)

The mechanism for managing upgrade of the Guest OS is fairly manual for the user today. The Windows Azure Team is contemplating some changes to make this process more convenient and intuitive for the user. To that end we would like to get your opinion.

We have a very short survey for you (< 5min) that will give us some insights into how you, as a customer of Windows Azure, think about upgrades to the Guest OS.

Here’s the link –>

Thanks in advance – Mike

| Mike Wickstrand | Senior Director, Windows Azure Product Planning |
| Microsoft |
| Email: | Twitter: @Wickstrand |
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