About SSM documents for patching instances - AWS Systems Manager

About SSM documents for patching instances

This topic describes the eight SSM documents currently available to help you keep your managed instances patched with the latest security-related updates.

We currently recommend using just four of these documents in your patching operations. Together, these four SSM documents provide you with a full range of patching options using AWS Systems Manager. Three of these documents were released later than the four legacy SSM documents they replace and represent expansions or consolidations of functionality.

The four recommended SSM documents include:

  • AWS-ConfigureWindowsUpdate

  • AWS-InstallWindowsUpdates

  • AWS-RunPatchBaseline

  • AWS-RunPatchBaselineAssociation

The four legacy SSM documents that are still available for use in some AWS Regions, but might be deprecated in the future, include:

  • AWS-ApplyPatchBaseline

  • AWS-FindWindowsUpdates

  • AWS-InstallMissingWindowsUpdates

  • AWS-InstallSpecificWindowsUpdates

Refer to the following sections for more information about using these SSM documents in your patching operations.

The following four SSM documents are recommended for use in your managed instance patching operations.

Supports configuring basic Windows Update functions and using them to install updates automatically (or to disable automatic updates). Available in all AWS Regions.

This SSM document prompts Windows Update to download and install the specified updates and reboot instances as needed. Use this document with State Manager to ensure Windows Update maintains its configuration. You can also run it manually using Run Command to change the Windows Update configuration.

The available parameters in this document support specifying a category of updates to install (or whether to disable automatic updates), as well as specifying the day of the week and time of day to run patching operations. This SSM document is most useful if you don't need strict control over Windows updates and don't need to collect compliance information.

Replaces legacy SSM documents:

  • None

Installs updates on a Windows Server instance. Available in all AWS Regions.

This SSM document provides basic patching functionality in cases where you either want to install a specific update (using the Include Kbs parameter), or want to install patches with specific classifications or categories but don't need patch compliance information.

Replaces legacy SSM documents:

  • AWS-FindWindowsUpdates

  • AWS-InstallMissingWindowsUpdates

  • AWS-InstallSpecificWindowsUpdates

The three legacy documents perform different functions, but you can achieve the same results by using different parameter settings with the newer SSM document AWS-InstallWindowsUpdates. These parameter settings are described in Legacy SSM documents for patching instances.

Installs patches on your instances or scans instances to determine whether any qualified patches are missing. Available in all AWS Regions.

AWS-RunPatchBaseline enables you to control patch approvals using the patch baseline currently specified as the "default" for an operating system type. Reports patch compliance information that you can view using the Systems Manager Compliance tools. These tools provide you with insights on the patch compliance state of your instances, such as which instances are missing patches and what those patches are. When you use AWS-RunPatchBaseline, patch compliance information is recorded using the PutInventory API command. For Linux operating systems, compliance information is provided for patches from both the default source repository configured on an instance and from any alternative source repositories you specify in a custom patch baseline. For more information about alternative source repositories, see How to specify an alternative patch source repository (Linux). For more information about the Systems Manager Compliance tools, see AWS Systems Manager Configuration Compliance.

Replaces legacy documents:

  • AWS-ApplyPatchBaseline

The legacy document AWS-ApplyPatchBaseline applies only to Windows Server instances, and does not provide support for application patching. The newer AWS-RunPatchBaseline provides the same support for both Windows and Linux systems. Version 2.0.834.0 or later of SSM Agent is required in order to use the AWS-RunPatchBaseline document.

For more information about the AWS-RunPatchBaseline SSM document, see About the SSM document AWS-RunPatchBaseline.

Installs patches on your instances or scans instances to determine whether any qualified patches are missing. Available in all commercial AWS Regions.

AWS-RunPatchBaselineAssociation differs from AWS-RunPatchBaseline in that it supports the use of tags to identify which patch baseline to use with a set of targets when it runs. In addition, patch compliance data is compiled in terms of a specific State Manager association. The patch compliance data collected when AWS-RunPatchBaselineAssociation runs is recorded using the PutComplianceItems API command instead of the PutInventory command. This prevents compliance data that isn't associated with this particular association from being overwritten.

For Linux operating systems, compliance information is provided for patches from both the default source repository configured on an instance and from any alternative source repositories you specify in a custom patch baseline. For more information about alternative source repositories, see How to specify an alternative patch source repository (Linux). For more information about the Systems Manager Compliance tools, see AWS Systems Manager Configuration Compliance.

Replaces legacy documents:

  • None

For more information about the AWS-RunPatchBaselineAssociation SSM document, see About the SSM Document AWS-RunPatchBaselineAssociation.

Legacy SSM documents for patching instances

The following four SSM documents are still available for use in your patching operations in some AWS Regions. However, they might be deprecated in the future, so we do not recommend their use. Instead, use the documents described in SSM documents recommended for patching instances.

AWS-ApplyPatchBaseline

Supports only Windows Server instances, but does not include support for patching applications that is found in its replacement, AWS-RunPatchBaseline. Not available in AWS Regions launched after August 2017.

Note

The replacement for this SSM document, AWS-RunPatchBaseline, requires version 2.0.834.0 or a later version of SSM Agent. You can use the AWS-UpdateSSMAgent document to update your instances to the latest version of the agent.

AWS-FindWindowsUpdates

Replaced by AWS-InstallWindowsUpdates, which can perform all the same actions. Not available in AWS Regions launched after April 2017.

To achieve the same result that you would from this legacy SSM document, use the following parameter configuration with the recommended replacement document, AWS-InstallWindowsUpdates:

  • Action = Scan

  • Allow Reboot = False

AWS-InstallMissingWindowsUpdates

Replaced by AWS-InstallWindowsUpdates, which can perform all the same actions. Not available in any AWS Regions launched after April 2017.

To achieve the same result that you would from this legacy SSM document, use the following parameter configuration with the recommended replacement document, AWS-InstallWindowsUpdates:

  • Action = Install

  • Allow Reboot = True

AWS-InstallSpecificWindowsUpdates

Replaced by AWS-InstallWindowsUpdates, which can perform all the same actions. Not available in any AWS Regions launched after April 2017.

To achieve the same result that you would from this legacy SSM document, use the following parameter configuration with the recommended replacement document, AWS-InstallWindowsUpdates:

  • Action = Install

  • Allow Reboot = True

  • Include Kbs = comma-separated list of KB articles