Windows Server version 1709 and the Semi-Annual Channel

Last week Microsoft made Windows Server version 1709 available , the first release in the Semi-Annual Channel. The Semi-Annual what? Read more about it.

What is the Semi-Annual Channel?

For Windows Server, the Semi-Annual Channel is a new model that provides opportunity to take advantage of new operating system capabilities at a faster pace if you don’t mind replacing your Windows installations at a faster pace.

The Semi-Annual Channel releases are supported for 18 months and a new release will be out twice a year. In contrast, the Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) continues to have 5 years of mainstream support and 5 years of extended support, with a new release planned for every 2-3 years. Windows Server 2016 is the latest LTSC release. You can find more information on end of support dates for the Semi-Annual Channel releases on the Release Information page.

Windows Server current versions by servicing option
Windows Server release Version OS Build Availability Mainstream support end date Extended support end date
Windows Server, version 1709 (Semi-Annual Channel) 1709 16299.15 10/17/2017 04/18/2019 N/A
Windows Server 2016 (Long-Term Servicing Channel) 1607 14393.0 10/12/2016 01/11/2022 01/11/2027

 Can Windows Server 2016 be upgraded to version 1709?

Windows Server, version 1709 is not an update to Windows Server 2016. Instead, it is a new release in a different channel with a different support model. To move from Windows Server 2016 (or previous versions) to Windows Server, version 1709 you’ll need to run a clean install. In-place upgrades are not supported as Windows Server 2016 is a LTSC release and version 1709 is a Semi-Annual Channel release and they have different support models.

What editions are available in the Semi-Annual Channel?

Windows Server 2016 has different editions to support customers with different environments and sizes, such as Standard, Datacenter, and Essentials. However, because the Semi-Annual Channel focuses on very specific scenarios, the only editions available in the current channel are Standard and Datacenter.

I heard Server Core is the only installation option available. Is this true?

Yes. Server Core is the installation option recommended for this release and focus group. For that reason, Server Core is the only installation option for this channel.

Are there more releases in the foreseeable future?

Yes, expect releases every six months.


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