Public Preview of the Windows Server Annual Channel for Containers on Azure Kubernetes Service
Published Jul 09 2024 11:37 AM 968 Views

Today, we are excited to announce the public preview for the Windows Server Annual Channel for Containers on Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). The annual channel delivers a more agile and portable experience for our partners and customers in an accelerated annual cadence. 


What's New: 



As mentioned last year, a large component of the benefits that the first edition of the annual channel brings is portability. With the addition of a new stable application binary interface (ABI) for user and kernel interaction, the user and kernel components of the system are decoupled, allowing for the components to be updated and maintained separately. This allows for older container images to run on a newer host OS, dampening the need for updating infrastructure and container images before updating the host. This means Windows Server 2022 container images can be run on the Annual Channel for Containers host. 


Faster Innovation 

The annual channel will be a completely optional upgrade for our customers, but one that drives faster innovation and higher quality for our customers. By providing an annual update to the container host, customers can now get performance, security and reliability improvements on a yearly-cadence basis versus a three-year cadence basis. In addition, the Windows Server Annual Channel for Containers will receive the same servicing as the current three-year Windows Server releases. This will not only allow users to consistently be on the best performing version of our container hosts but also ease the load when it comes time to migrate to newer versions. 


How to get started: 

To upgrade your Windows Server 2022 clusters to the Windows Server Annual Channel for Containers, customers will need to create a new node pool with the new “Windows Annual Channel” OS SKU.  

Supported on nodepools running Kubernetes 1.28 and above, this page walks through detailed instructions on how to upgrade existing Windows Server 2022 nodepools as well as create your first Windows Server Annual Channel for Containers nodepool. 

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