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Announcing In-Place Upgrade from Ubuntu Server to Ubuntu Pro on Azure


on 8 August 2023

We are pleased to share that Azure is now offering an in-place upgrade from Ubuntu Server to Ubuntu Pro. This functionality, made possible through our strategic partnership with Azure, provides a straightforward way to leverage the advanced features and extended security maintenance of Ubuntu Pro, all without redeploying your Virtual Machine (VM) or scheduling a maintenance window.

“We’re excited to partner with Canonical to enhance the experience with Ubuntu on Azure. Our customers now have a seamless way to access the advanced security, compliance, and management features of Ubuntu Pro.” – Andrew Randall, Principal PM Manager at Microsoft

What is Ubuntu Pro?

Ubuntu Pro is a subscription that gives access to services on top of the Ubuntu Server LTS releases, while using the same code base and remaining fully-compatible with Ubuntu Server.

It is a cross-cloud operating system optimized for Azure that is security maintained for 10 years and enables the secure use of an extended collection of open-source software so that teams can utilize the latest technologies while meeting internal governance and compliance requirements. It adds additional security enabled by default, as well as compliance and management tools suitable for Linux operations of any scale, from small to large. Customers can add 24/7 phone and ticket support to Ubuntu Pro by contacting Canonical.

For instance, customers using Ubuntu Server 18.04 can upgrade to Ubuntu Pro and continue to receive security patches from Canonical as part of Ubuntu Pro’s Expanded Security Maintenance until 2028.

Ubuntu Pro’s additional services include the following:

  • Enhanced Security: Kernel livepatching and security patches for over 23,000 packages in Ubuntu’s Main and Universe repositories. This includes the most commonly used open source applications and toolchains, including Ansible, Apache Tomcat, Apache Zookeeper, Docker, Nagios, Node.js, phpMyAdmin, Puppet, PowerDNS, Python, Redis, Rust, WordPress, and more.
  • Compliance: Adherence to the Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 140-2, a key requirement for many organisations, as well as Ubuntu Security Guide for Ubuntu hardening with CIS profiles and DISA-STIG.
  • Extended Support: Long-term support (LTS) extending up to ten years.

A Seamless Upgrade Experience

The in-place upgrade from Ubuntu Server to Ubuntu Pro involves a few simple steps executed via the command line (CLI). Azure will meter your Ubuntu Pro usage and add it to your Azure bill, so you do not need a separate procurement relationship with Canonical. You can run the following command with the Azure CLI to enable Ubuntu Pro on an Ubuntu Server VM:

az vm update -g myResourceGroup -n myVmName --license-type UBUNTU_PRO

Run these commands in the instance that you have converted:

sudo apt install ubuntu-advantage-tools
sudo pro auto-attach

Verify that Ubuntu Pro is enabled on your instance by running

pro status --all --wait 

In the instance that you have converted, both “esm-infra” and “esm-apps” services should have a status of “enabled”.

You can refer to Microsoft’s documentation on the feature for more details.

Complementing Ubuntu Pro Updates Awareness

This in-place upgrade complements our recent announcement about Ubuntu Pro update awareness through the Azure Guest Patching Service (AzGPS) and Update Management Center (UMC). These recent enhancements to the Azure dashboards simplify the identification of instances that would benefit from Extended Security Maintenance, which is one of the features of Ubuntu Pro. With this simple mechanism to convert those instances to Ubuntu Pro, users now have a comprehensive system to identify and patch older Ubuntu instances, thereby maximizing their security and extending the economic life of workloads built on older Ubuntu releases.


The in-place upgrade from Ubuntu Server to Ubuntu Pro on Azure, now available in public preview, is a seamless transition to enhance security, compliance, and long-term support for your enterprise. With no need for redeployment, upgrading your Ubuntu experience has never been more straightforward. Embrace the benefits of Ubuntu Pro today and experience the improvement in your cloud journey.

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