A lot of you ask us about the process we follow when updating connectors and releasing it to you. So, I figured I’d use today’s post to clarify what we do in this regard. I’d also like to cover the improvements we’ve made to make the process more stable and predictable for you.
As you know, we support automatic updates for any connector that you deploy and have had this capability for some time now. This was a key focus for us because we did not want you to have the burden of watching out for updates and keeping the connectors updated with the latest changes. With automatic updates, we offer you a simple way to keep up-to-date and get the advantage of all the feature, security and performance enhancements we make.
We’re constantly looking for ways to make our offering even better and we have made some improvements in this regard to better serve your needs. I’ll let Harshini, a Program Manager on the team, share more information about this new update process.
As always, if you have any feedback on this please send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.
I’m Harshini Jayaram and I’m a Program Manager in the Azure Active Directory team, focusing on Application Proxy. We’ve recently released the next update for your connectors, and wanted to give some transparency into that process.
Connector Updater Service
When you installed your application proxy, you may have noticed that two services were added to your server – Microsoft AAD Application Proxy Connector (the core connector service), and Microsoft AAD Application Proxy Connector Updater (the updater service). As long as the second service is running, your connectors will update automatically with no downtime and no manual steps required.
If you don’t see the connector updater service on your server, you will need to reinstall your connector in order to get any updates. You can learn more about installing connectors in our setup documentation.
Update Rollout Process
Our updates happen using a gradual rollout process, intended to minimize any impact to you. Any rollout we make is first tested out in our test environments. Once successful there, we roll it out into our production environments. In our production environments, we first release it to our own test tenants to ensure there are no surprises. Again, the goal here is to prove out the stability of the update to ensure there is no downtime to your environment.
Next, we target customer tenants; starting with customers that have multiple connectors in their connector groups. In each of those groups, one connector is selected at random for an update. This way, in the unlikely event of a connector going down as a result of the update, there will be other connectors in the connector group that could take the load. This ensures that your users don’t see any impact to their application access.
Finally, we update the remaining connectors – those in connector groups with just one connector, and the remaining connectors in multiple-connector groups.
In each phase of the rollout we proceed gradually across our customer segment in that phase and ensuring that the rollout is successful, before proceeding. And we move between these phases only after the successful rollout of the preceding phase.
Tenants with One Connector: If you only have one connector, that connector will be updated as part of the last group. Because there is no other connector to reroute traffic through, the service will be down during the update. To avoid this downtime and more broadly ensure high availability, we recommend installing a second connector and creating a connector group. For details on how to do so, please see our documentation on connector groups.
Other Tenants: During the connector update, traffic will be rerouted to your other connectors for minimal disruption. However, any transactions in progress when the update starts may be dropped. Your browser should automatically retry the operation, making this potential drop transparent to you. Otherwise you may need to refresh your page to work around this.
We know it can be painful to have even the minute of downtime, but these updates allow us to give you an even better connector with numerous improvements that we think are worth it.
If you’d like more details on the changes in our recent Connector update, you can look at this page with the details on our latest update. We will update that page along with each update.