Microsoft Updates Its Servicing Model: Say Goodbye to the SAC and Hello to Azure Stack HCI
Microsoft recently announced that it will be updating its servicing model starting with Windows Server 2022.
Previously, Microsoft offered two release channels:
- Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC)
For the LTSC, a new major version of Windows Server is released every 2-3 years and users are entitled to 5 years of mainstream support and 5 years of extended support. This channel is appropriate for systems that require a longer servicing option and functional stability.
- Semi-Annual Channel (SAC)
For the SAC, new releases were available twice a year, in spring and fall, and each release was supported for 18 months from the initial release. This focused on containers and microservices and was best for customers who innovated quickly and took on new operating systems at a faster pace. However, some of the limitations of SAC included a shorter support period, a requirement for Software Assurance, and no desktop option.
Recently, Microsoft announced that starting with Windows Server 2022, there will only be one primary release channel available, which will be the Long-Term Servicing Channel. The Semi-Annual Channel will no longer be available.
The following table will help users determine the end of support dates for both LTSC and SAC:
|Windows Server Release||Version||Build Number||Availability||Mainstream Support End Date||Extended Support End Date|
|Windows Server, version 20H2 (Semi-Annual Channel) (Datacenter Core, Standard Core)||20H2||19042.508.200927-1902||10/20/20||5/10/22||N/A|
|Windows Server, version 2004 (Semi-Annual Channel) (Datacenter Core, Standard Core)||2004||19041.264.200508-2205||5/27/20||12/14/21||N/A|
|Windows Server, version 1909 (Semi-Annual Channel) (Datacenter Core, Standard Core)||1909||18363.418.191007-0143||11/12/19||5/11/21||N/A|
|Windows Server 2019 (Long-Term Servicing Channel) (Datacenter, Essentials, Standard)||1809||17763.107.1010129-1455||11/13/18||1/9/24||1/9/29|
|Windows Server 2016 (Long-Term Servicing Channel) (Datacenter, Essentials, Standard)||1607||14393.0||10/15/16||1/11/22||1/11/27|
Those who required frequent updates and used the Semi-Annual Channel for containers and microservices will be able to continue that innovation with Azure Stack HCI.
Getting to Know Azure Stack HCI
Azure Stack HCI is a new hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) operating system delivered as an Azure service that provides the latest security, performance, and feature updates. As a single platform, it integrates compute, storage, networking, and virtualization.
HCI was designed with four goals in mind for users:
- Be hybrid by design
- Enterprise scale and provide great price performance
- Simplify operations
- Provide flexibility in deployment
Azure Stack HCI enables organizations to modernize their infrastructure and consolidate virtualized workloads, reducing costs, and increasing efficiency.
Azure Stack HCI is suited for multiple use cases, including:
- Branch office and edge
- Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)
- Online transaction processing (OLTP)
- Business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR)
- Enterprise virtualization
- Tightly integrated Kubernetes container workloads
For containerized apps, these can be deployed and managed with Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) on Azure Stack HCI. This is an on-premises implementation of the popular Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) orchestrator, which automates running containerized applications at scale and makes it easier to host Linux and Windows containers in your database.
Hotpatching With Azure Stack HCI
A simple but highly anticipated advantage of Azure Stack HCI is that users will be able to apply security patches without rebooting, resulting in a substantially faster procedure than its predecessor. Known as Hotpatching, users will be able to install updates on supported Windows Server Azure Edition virtual machines (VMs) without a reboot after installation.
This will result in a lower workload impact, faster deployment of updates, and better overall protection as the Hotpatch update packages are scoped to Windows security updates that install fast without rebooting.
Next Steps: Stay Current on Microsoft’s Latest Developments
To stay up to date on Microsoft’s products, get in touch with one of our subject matter experts who can guide you through any upcoming changes or new offerings. For more information about semi-annual releases or Azure Stack HCI, contact our team today to start a conversation.
Visit https://www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us/ to connect with our team now.
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