Please add upgrade packages

Occasional Contributor

For anyone on other clouds than Azure, it's incredibly hard to test out these new server releases, since that would typically involve building vms locally and then uploading to the cloud provider - some providers even don't support this because the generated vm version is an "unkonwn" type because of its new version.

 

I'd urge Microsoft to supply an upgrade path, for example from a vanilla 2016 Core - this will make it much easier for a broader audience to test out the new bits.

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I guess an alternate aspect of this question is: How can I run the "Semi Annual Channel" releases on a cloud provider other than Azure? I have no idea how the "cooperation" between Microsoft and Amazon/Google is, but I would very much like some info regarding this. We're on AWS. I'd very much start building out labs for running Kubernetes on Windows, and right now it seems that I can't.

Hi Trond,

Thank you for the feedback!

<waves magic wand>

Ask and you shall receive!!!  :)

 

We have just enabled In-place Upgrades, and it will be coming in the next Windows Server Insiders build which is released.  This will simplify the process to upgrade from build-to-build.

One question... usually when we think about the need for In-place OS Upgrades, it is for traditional applications.  But I see that you are using containers, can you provide more details in what your scenarios are around containers and upgrading the images?

Thanks!
Elden

Awesome, that's really good news. Do you happen to know (cirka) when the next release will be?

 

As for use case, it's quite simple: We run Kubernetes on AWS, and need to be able to provision Windows-based Kubernetes nodes.

Just to add a bit of context: On a "non-azure" cloud there's no such thing as a "semi-annual-release" version of Windows server. There's just windows server 2016 core or full, and that's that. It seems to me that these "release rings" are more fitting for an on-prem world than in the cloud - why would I be a part of a special "ring" or release cadence? I just want to provision vms and let them live for as long as I need them (an hour or a week or a month) before I terminate them and provision another when when I need to. If I decided to move from one major version to the next, I'll make sure I test my provisioning/deployment pipeline with that version before I start using it.

 

I have no idea if it's the fault of the "other cloud vendors" or Microsoft, but imho these "release cycles" (is that the name?) seem counter-intuitive. I need to be able to trust that every time I spin up a Windows 2016 VM it will behave the same (albeit with the newest patches already installed), in the same way that I can trust that Ubuntu 16.04 stays the same and compatible. If there's a newer version of the OS I would expect that to be called "Server 2016.2 or "Server 2017" or something. 

Responding to your question as to when the next build will be released - we'll post new images roughly ever two weeks to the Insider community during each development cycle, however, there are a number of factors that could affect the release schedule for preview builds including build stability, holiday schedules, etc. New builds are announced here and in the Feedback Hub application as well as on blogs. Stay tuned!

Hi Trond,

Windows Server 2016 is an LTSC release, and provides everything you desire in a long term supported release.  What this forum is focused on and we are discussing here is the Windows Server Insiders build.  These are for customers who want to check out the newest features of a pre-release build from Windows Server Insiders.  This gives you an opportunity to see it first, and give feedback to help shape the product.  Windows Server Insiders releases are not for production, they are simply the ability to test pre-release software.

Here's a doc which discusses the different release channels:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/get-started/semi-annual-channel-overview

Thanks!
Elden

Thanks!

I'm aware of the difference between Long-term branches and insiders builds, but my point is still: If I'm running my vms in a cloud on another cloud than Azure, my options are very limited, since those images aren't available there.

I was really looking forward to this, until I saw the fine print of today's release: You can only upgrade from 1709, not the GA version. Which leaves me dead in the water.

 

Please provide an update experience from the GA version of 2016 so that any user on any cloud can get access to the insiders builds. We have absolutely no local infrastructure, and I would hate to have to start building local hyper-v clusters just to be able to test a new OS.

FWIW, Google's cloud does have 1709 images. We've also managed to "upgrade" a 2016 core installation to 1709 via a sysprep file on AWS, which has worked just fine (though you lose all data). I've also been in touch with Amazon around an official 1709 image, but they've been slow moving. Hopefully we'll see one soon!

 

Here's the unattend.xml that I provided to the setup.exe from the 1709 installer to get 1709 on AWS. You can mount the 1709 ISO using Mount-DiskImage. Once upgraded, I followed the instructions to install the EC2 agent.

Thanks!

I've contacted AWS thru several channels to get their feedback on the problem as well.

 

A custom unnattend file looks interesting - tho it's not clear to me how you actually use it. Do you bundle it with a image and use the Image Import service, or do you somehow run 1709 setup on top of a GA 2016 server?


@Spendon Gavekort wrote:

Do you bundle it with a image and use the Image Import service, or do you somehow run 1709 setup on top of a GA 2016 server?


The latter. From a base 2016 AMI on Amazon, you can download the 1709 ISO, mount it with

Mount-DiskImage

and then run setup.exe, providing an unattend file via

setup.exe /unattend unattend.xml

Note that the fresh install won't have all the necessary drivers to start up on anything other than a t2 instance. Once I got a running base AMI, I booted it up on a t2 and installed the PV drivers and enhanced network drivers. I was then able to create an AMI after booting on an m5 instance and sysprepping.

 

Nice, thanks for that.

 

Now the question is just: How do I get a hold of a 1709 image? I don't have an EA agreement or anything like that, because we only use cloud instances so I don't feel that I should have to.

It's available on MSDN if you have a subscription. I'm not aware of any other way to get it aside from a volume licensing agreement.

Windows Server, version 1709 is also available on the Azure Gallery. There's two VHDs available there, one with Containers pre-installed and the other without.

We're not on Azure, that's the whole point of this thread.