Azure Synapse runtimes

Apache Spark pools in Azure Synapse use runtimes to tie together essential component versions, Azure Synapse optimizations, packages, and connectors with a specific Apache Spark version. These runtimes will be upgraded periodically to include new improvements, features, and patches.

When you create a serverless Apache Spark pool, you will have the option to select the corresponding Apache Spark version. Based on this, the pool will come pre-installed with the associated runtime components and packages. These runtimes have the following advantages:

  • Faster session startup times
  • Tested compatibility with specific Apache Spark versions
  • Access to popular, compatible connectors and open-source packages


  • Maintenance updates will be automatically applied to new sessions for a given serverless Apache Spark pool.
  • You should test and validate that your applications run properly when using new runtime versions.

Supported Azure Synapse runtime releases

The following table lists the runtime name, Apache Spark version, and release date for supported Azure Synapse Runtime releases.

Runtime name Release date Release stage
Azure Synapse Runtime for Apache Spark 2.4 December 15, 2020 GA
Azure Synapse Runtime for Apache Spark 3.1 May 26, 2021 GA

Runtime release stages

Preview runtimes

Azure Synapse Analytics provides previews to give you a chance to evaluate and share feedback on features before they become generally available (GA). While a runtime is available in preview, new dependencies and component versions may be introduced. Support SLAs are not applicable for preview runtimes.

Generally available runtimes

Generally available (GA) runtimes are open to all customers and are ready for production use. Once a runtime is generally available, security fixes and stability improvements may be backported. In addition, new components will only be introduced if they do not change underlying dependencies or component versions.