Long-Term Servicing Channel and Semi-Annual Channel
In September 2017, we released Windows Server version 1709, the first release in the Semi-Annual Channel. It has a faster release cadence and addresses feedback from many of you who want faster innovation every few months. This complements the Long-Term Servicing Channel where the release cadence is every 2-3 years.
After the launch of WS v1709, we learned more from our customers and partners about how they were using the Semi-Annual Channel release. Based on telemetry and feedback that we received from the Windows Insiders program and production deployments, we learned that the Semi-Annual Channel is ideal for modern applications and innovation scenarios such as containers and micro-services while LTSC is the preferred release for core infrastructure scenarios such as software-defined datacenter and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI). Based on this insight, moving forward, we’re focusing our efforts on specific scenarios for Semi-Annual Channel and LTSC as follows:
|Long-Term Servicing Channel||Semi-Annual Channel|
|Recommended scenarios||General purpose file servers, first and third-party workloads, traditional apps, infrastructure roles, software-defined Datacenter, and Hyper-converged infrastructure||Containerized applications, container hosts, and application scenarios benefiting from faster innovation|
|New releases||Every 2–3 years||Every 6 months|
|Support||5 years of Mainstream support
+ 5 years of Extended support
|Editions||All available Windows Server editions||Standard and Datacenter editions|
|Who can use||All customers through all channels||Software Assurance and cloud customers only|
|Installationoptions||Server Core and Server with Desktop Experience||Server Core for container host and image and Nano Server container image|
LTSC and Semi-Annual Channel carry an equal amount of importance to customer. Microsoft continue to listen to our customers and partners and build features and functionality in the two releases that fit the adoption pattern of our customers.
Windows Server v1803 : the next Semi-Annual Channel release
We are excited to tell you that the next version in the Semi-Annual Channel, Windows Server, v1803, will be available soon. The Semi-Annual Channel enables us to drive rapid innovation and evolution through the full operating system and software stack which is vital to the success of solutions like Docker, Kubernetes, and Service Fabric.
Below are a few features that we are excited about in WS v1803. You may have already experienced these in the Windows Insider Program:
- Server Core container images: We reduced the Server Core base container image by 30% from WS v1709 and improved application compatibility – that will help customers containerizing existing applications.
- Curl.exe, Tar.exe, and SSH support: Support for such tools will complement PowerShell for building and debugging scenarios
- Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL): enabled server administrators to use existing tools and scripts from Linux on Windows Server. Many improvements showcased in the command line blog are now part of Windows Server including Background tasks, DriveFS, WSLPath, and much more
- Container networking enhancements: localhost and http proxy support while also improving container scalability and startup time
- Kubernetes journey: Working with-in and alongside the Kubernetes community, we enabled more of the Kubernetes feature set and ecosystem such as the following:
- Addition of two storage plugins enabling persistent storage for Windows containers orchestrated by Kubernetes
- Cloud scale networking though initiatives like our partnership with Tigera on Project Calico support
- Windows platform support for Hyper-V isolated Pods (supporting multiple containers per Pod) which enhances container isolation and security in Kubernetes environments.
More coming to Windows Server, check all the new features added to the preview builds in the Insiders space in the Windows Server Tech Community :
You can try it now!
The good news is that you can try both, the next Semi-Annual Channel and the next LTSC release right now. Windows Server, version 1803 preview and Windows Server 2019 preview are available through the Insiders program. Don’t forget to give us feedback through the Windows Feedback Hub app.
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