Microsoft outlines its new support plans for Windows Server

Microsoft is dropping its Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel updates and moving to a new model with only Windows Server LTSC releases coming once every two to three years.

Starting with Windows Server 2022, Microsoft will no longer be providing Semi-Annual Channel releases of Windows Server. Instead, going forward, there will only be Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) releases of Windows Server, which will get 10 years of support (five mainstream and five extended), according to a new servicing update for the product published on July 26.

Microsoft officials already have said to expect the Windows Server 2022 release, designated an LTSC release, in the second half of calendar 2021. The product already is "done" but is currently in testing with OEM partners and available to customers who want to evaluate it.

Semi-Annual Channel updates of Windows Server will end with Windows Server version 20H2, which Microsoft made available to customers in October 2020. Semi-Annual Channel updates have been for customers who want to try out the latest innovations for Server. Microsoft has been releasing these updates twice yearly up until now.

"The Semi-Annual Channel in previous versions of Windows Server focused on containers and microservices, and that innovation will continue with Azure Stack HCI," officials said.

Microsoft plans to continue to release new versions of Windows Server every two to three years. These all will be designated as LTSC releases and get 10 years of support, the blog post said.

I've asked Microsoft officials whether the company intends to continue to offer Windows Server to Insider testers or if that program is over. Microsoft almost never publishes any release notes for a while now when it makes Insider versions of Server available to testers. So far, no word back from the company.

Update (July 28): A spokesperson said: "At this time, Microsoft does not have anything to share" regarding the future of the Server Insider program.

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced a change in its servicing plans for Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC, whereby new versions of that product will only get five years of support total instead of 10 years. The next Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC release is due this fall, in conjunction with the Windows 10 21H2 release. 

(Thanks to ghacks.net for the pointer to the blog post about Microsoft's change in servicing plans for Windows Server.)