Fixed Update Cycle for Windows Server
From fall 2017, Microsoft will release two Windows Server feature updates per year, publishing them each spring and fall. According to a blog post, Microsoft wants to align the Server operating system updates to the semi-annual update cycle of Windows 10, Office and System Center Configuration Manager. This new update cycle applies only to Windows Server Core, which represents the basic operating system for Azure and Azure Stack. Further, the software company announced to deliver semi-annual updates for the System Center Suite, too.
Unlike Windows 10, where feature updates are available for all editions, Software Assurance is precondition for the new service branch for semi-annual updates, going under the officially titel “Semi-annual Channel (SAC)”. This regulation is not new. For the Nano Server, Software Assurance is required already today in order to get the regular feature updates in the context of the Current Branch for Business. The new aspect, however, is that the Sever Core edition will be supported in the Semi-annual Channel and will get two updates with new features each year. Without Software Assurance, the Server operating system remains in the Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) and only receives security and quality updates. Windows Server with “Desktop Experience” installation do not have the right to join the Semi-annual Channel.
Along with this, Microsoft has changed the conditions of operating system support and now offers 18 months of support for each release in SAC. Thus, customers have the opportunity to skip a release and install every second only. In LTSC, there will be no changes: After five years of Mainstream Support there will follow 5 years of Extended Support, and new releases will be available each second or third year only.
According to Microsoft, the fixed update cycle for Windows Server particularly addresses those customers who want quickly take advantage of improvements and innovations of infrastructure services like Hyper-V, containers, microservices, or software-defined hybrid datacenter.
The software company has not yet announced any specific innovations for the planned Windows Server update in fall. However, the Windows Subsystem for Linux will be part of the upcoming update, as promised. Upon the question from ZDNet.com it became known, that the Hyper-V isolation capability, available for Windows Server container, will be extended to Linux containers.