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Windows as a service: Simplified and Aligned



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Microsoft has changed Windows As A Service and this was explained in a blog post by Michael Niehaus.

As we announced back in April, Microsoft is aligning our servicing models with twice-per-year feature update releases targeting March and September, and 18-month servicing timelines for each release.  While the first fully-aligned release will occur later this year with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update release and a corresponding Office 365 ProPlus release, we got a head start with the Windows 10 1703 release (a.k.a. Creators Update):  It marks the first of our semi-annual releases, each of which will be serviced for 18 months.

As part of the alignment with Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus, we are also adopting common terminology to make it as easy as possible to understand the servicing process.  The two most important terms to understand:

  • Semi-Annual Channel. These are the twice-per-year feature update releases, targeting March and September, designed for the broad population of general-purpose PCs used throughout organizations.  Each of these releases will be serviced for 18 months from the date of release.  (The Semi-Annual Channel replaces the Current Branch [CB] and Current Branch for Business [CBB] concepts.)
  • Long-Term Servicing Channel. These are less frequent releases, expected every 2-3 years (with the next one expected in 2019), designed for special-purpose PCs such as those used in point-of-sale systems or controlling factory or medical equipment.  Each of these releases will be serviced for 10 years from the date of release.  (The Long-Term Servicing Channel replaces the Long-Term Servicing Branch [LTSB].)

With each Semi-Annual Channel release, we begin deploying right away to targeted consumer devices and gradually ramp up to full deployment based on the telemetry that we receive.  As John Cable discussed on the Windows Experience blog, we recommend that enterprises follow the same approach. Start with targeted deployments to validate that apps, devices and infrastructure used by the organization works well with the new release.  When that validation is complete, begin broadly deploying.

Windows 10 1703 is ready for that broad deployment, based on feedback that we’ve received from organizations, ISVs, partners, OEMs, and consumers that have already done it.  As a convenience to help organizations that haven’t yet begun this broad deployment, we are updating the Windows 10 1703 packages and ISOs on the Volume License Servicing Center, MSDN, Windows Update, Windows Update for Business, and Windows Server Update Services, integrating the July cumulative update into the original Windows 10 1703 packages.

For more information on the common terminology, see the as well as the corresponding Office 365 ProPlus servicing guidance.  Today we have also made available a new Microsoft Mechanics video to help explain the servicing process:

And here's the video explaining the changes:

 

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