Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that they will be releasing two major updates to Windows 10 and Office every year. Today, Windows Server team announced that they will also be following similar pattern in releasing major updates. They will release two feature updates per year, each spring and fall, aligning to the Windows and Office release cycle. This new update cycle will allow customers to take advantage of the latest features at a rapid page. Also, System Center will be releasing their major updates following the same release cycle. Following customers can get access to Windows Server in the Semi-annual Channel:
- Windows Server Standard or Datacenter customers who are covered by Software Assurance will automatically have access to Semi-annual Channel releases as they are made available. Servers without Software Assurance do not have rights to the Semi-annual Channel releases.
- Customers can also access these new Windows Server images in Azure or other cloud and hosting environments. Plus, if you have existing Windows Server licenses with Software Assurance, you should take advantage of the savings (up to 40%!) when you use the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit.
Microsoft today also revealed some new changes that are coming to Windows Server soon. Based on the customer feedback, Microsoft will be removing the functionality for infrastructure-related roles from Nano Server. Microsoft is recommending customers to deploy the Server Core installation option, which includes all the roles and features. Microsoft is still investing in the Nano Server and they are trying to make it the best option for new container-based development. The upcoming update will shrink the size of Nano Server images by more than 50 percent, further decreasing startup times and improving container density.
Server Core is a “headless” installation option of the OS which includes all the roles and features needed to run datacenter servers and containerized traditional applications. Microsoft is now recommending it for hosting your virtual machines and containers – which can be running a Nano Server container image, a Server Core container image, or even Linux container images. Another good news, Server Core will now be included in the Semi-annual Channel.
Learn more about Windows Server Semi-annual Channel here.