Securing Azure HDInsight: ESM Support with Ubuntu 18.04, Cluster Updates, and Best Practices

This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: New blog articles in Microsoft Community Hub.

Azure HDInsight, Microsoft's cloud-based big data analytics platform, continues to advance its features to provide users with a secure and efficient environment. In this article, we will explore the latest enhancements, focusing on Expanded Security Maintenance (ESM) support, the importance of regular cluster updates, and best practices recommended by Microsoft to fortify HDInsight deployments. 


The foundation of a secure Azure HDInsight environment lies in its ability to address critical vulnerabilities promptly. Microsoft ensures this by shipping the latest HDInsight images with Expanded Security Maintenance (ESM) support, which provides a framework for ongoing support, stability with minimal changes specifically targeting critical, high and some medium-level fixes. This ensures that HDInsight users benefit from a continuously updated and secure environment.  


  • ESM Support in Latest Images: Azure HDInsight 5.0 and 5.1 versions use Ubuntu 18.04 pro image. Ubuntu Pro includes security patching for all Ubuntu packages due to Expanded Security Maintenance (ESM) for Infrastructure and Applications. Ubuntu Pro 18.04 LTS will remain fully supported until April 2028. For more information on what's new in the latest HDInsight images with ESM support, users can refer to the official release notes on the Azure HDInsight Release Notes Archive. 


  • Periodic Cluster Updates:  Maintaining a secure HDInsight environment requires diligence in keeping clusters up to date. Microsoft facilitates this process through the HDInsight OS patching mechanism. Periodically updating clusters using the procedures outlined in the official documentation ensures that users benefit from the latest features, performance improvements, and crucial security patches. Learn more about updating HDInsight clusters through the Azure HDInsight OS Patching documentation. 


  • ESM and HDI Release Integration: Extended Security Maintenance is seamlessly integrated into HDInsight releases. As part of each HDInsight release, critical fixes provided by ESM are bundled. This ensures that users benefit from the latest security enhancements with each new release. 


  • Customer Recommendation: Use the Latest Image: To maximize the benefits of the latest features and security updates, customers are strongly recommended to use the most recent HDInsight image number. By doing so, organizations ensure that their HDInsight clusters are fortified against the latest threats and vulnerabilities.


  • Accessing Fixed CVE Details: For users seeking detailed information about the fixed Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs), the Ubuntu CVE site serves as a valuable resource. Here, users can access comprehensive insights into the specific vulnerabilities addressed in each release, empowering them to make informed decisions about their security posture. 


  • Best Practice: Transitioning to HDInsight on AKS:  In line with Microsoft's best practices, customers are encouraged to consider adopting Azure HDInsight on Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) based on Azure Linux. This approach streamlines operations and simplifies the management of HDInsight clusters, contributing to an optimized and efficient big data processing environment. 

Learn more about Microsoft Azure HDInsight AKS documentation. 


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