Microsoft is planning to release Windows Server version 1709 next month during the software giant's annual Ignite IT conference. This year, Microsoft Ignite will run from Sept. 25 to 29 in Orlando, Fla. Last year, the company used the event to launch Windows Server 2016.
In an Aug. 24 announcement from Jeff Woolsey, principal program manager of Windows Server at Microsoft, the executive explained why the next version of the server operating system is following in the footsteps of its desktop counterpart when it comes to version numbers.
"To make the Windows Server versions easy to identify, we are taking a cue from the Windows team and refer to this release by the year and the month. In this case, 1709 refers to the year 2017, and the ninth month, September," stated Woolsey. "Very straightforward."
Barring any unforeseen delays, Windows Server version 1709 will line up neatly with the operating system's September 2017 general availability date. Curiously, Windows 10 Creators Update for PC carries a version number of 1703 despite its April 11 release date, suggesting that Microsoft locked down the update for a March target date and may have planned to release it earlier.
Further aligning Microsoft's server and PC operating systems release strategies, Woolsey said that going forward, Windows Server will be delivered to customers through two servicing models, the Long-Term Servicing Channel and the Semi-Annual Channel.
Long-Term Servicing Channel is similar to the Microsoft's longstanding approach to selling Windows Server. It provides five years of mainstream support and extended support, each, and gives them the option of upgrading to the next Long-Term Servicing every two to three years, said Woolsey.
The Semi-Annual Channel is geared toward customers with a bigger appetite for Microsoft's latest innovations. As its name indicates, it delivers a new version every six months, which is fully supported in a production deployments for 18 months.
Customers can also "mix and match" the channels, Woolsey added.
"If you have a legacy application that you rarely touch running in a VM, then maybe the LTSC release makes sense," he noted. "If you have a new, cloud application that your dev team is building using containers and they want the latest and greatest container features in Nano Server/Server Core, then likely the Semi-Annual Channel is the right choice." Nano Server and Server Core are slimmed-down versions of operating system for virtualized and container environments.
Windows Server is borrowing more than Windows 10's version number scheme.
Last month, Microsoft added the server system software to the Windows Insider early-access program, which the company has been using to gather feedback on preview builds of Windows 10. (Microsoft also runs a similar Office Insider program for users of its productivity software and services suite.)
Currently available to Windows Insiders, Windows Server Build 16237 allows users to test an even trimmer version of Nano Server that is half the size of the Windows Server 2016 version. Likewise, Server Core is now 20 percent smaller than before.