Microsoft has announced that it’s going to be moving to a twice-yearly schedule of major feature updates with Windows Server, matching the cadence which the software giant already employs with Windows 10 (and Office).
These more frequent releases are, of course, a good way of ensuring that users benefit from new features in a swifter manner – although, of course, it’s not quite as simple as simply switching to a biannual format with Windows Server.
Microsoft will offer two channels with Windows Server: a semi-annual channel with new feature releases every six months, and a Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC), the latter of which essentially keeps the current scheme of major updates every two or three years.
So in short, the biannual channel will see cumulative feature updates with each release building on the previous one, and the majority of those new features will ultimately be rolled into the big LTSC release every few years.
This new scheme of things will begin in the autumn of 2017, with future updates targeted for the spring and autumn, and it will also apply to Windows Server Core (the ‘headless’ installation of the OS) and System Centre.
Note that not all users will get the benefit of the new biannual releases – only Windows Server Standard or Datacenter users who are covered with Software Assurance, or those running Windows Server in Azure (or other cloud environments).
Microsoft further noted that Windows Server preview builds will be coming to the Windows Insider programme. The company called for testers and feedback on the OS, stating that: “While Windows Server has always evolved to meet the changing needs of our customers, the next phase truly depends on you. This new model provides more opportunity than ever before for you to influence the direction of Windows Server.”