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Support for M365 Apps (O365) on Windows 2022

Brass Contributor

We have a large number of Windows Server 2016 with M365 Apps (O365) and need to upgrade these servers now (end of support for WS2016 is Jan 2022).
The next server product to install for us would be Windows Server 2022, unfortunately there is no support for M365 apps (O365).
In general, it looks like the support of M365 Apps for Server OS will be discontinued 2025.

RE2OqRI (microsoft.com) 

We want to get a statement from Microsoft as to whether Microsoft intends to support M365 Apps (O365) on Windows Server 2022 at some point.
Now we have to make a strategic decision.
The time is not long until 2025!
The way is not to AVD or Microsoft Azure HCI, but the way is away from the concept of application (or desktop) "remoting" and thus we as customers are no longer available for AVD and Windows 365!

131 Replies

I would say one thing is abundantly clear. Microsoft are not making decisions on what is logical or best for their customer, they're dictating licensing conditions and software support, and artificially crippling operating system (server and desktop), to forcefully steer customers to a more expensive (profitable) platform that in most cases, cost aside, isn't even the best solution for the customer.

This isn't necessarily unsual for a company, though normally if you just make a great product the profitability comes easy, especially with software. What's maybe different here is Microsoft are not really try to hide the fact, and with the restriction on Win 10/11 multi-session licensing being exclusive to Azure, it's also very anti-competitive. It's a court case waiting to happen in my opinion.

Anyway, the whole situation just seems totally unecessary as it's clearly not a technical limitation. Must be frustrating for the developers and almost everybody else at Microsoft who just want to make the best products they can.

Hi @RH I understand your points. Yet there is no direct binding of hardware support and the 5Y software support cycle. In fact, I am seeing regular updates to older HW products to be certified for newer Windows Server releases by the OEM, so it is quite likely you can use your hardware ideally for at least 2 iterations of Windows Server with full support by Microsoft. Yet, the HW support is often limited to 5 years by our OEM partners and buying in longer terms after the initial 5 years is quite costly. Same as the possible extension by ESU for up to 3 years per Windows Server Product oder other Server Products such as SQL - ESU cost exceptions Azure (Cloud) + Azure Stack HCI (on-premises). 

So if you keep this in mind a 5-year cycle, it could make sense. Agree 5-year cycles can be a burden for large enterprises if you do not favor software designed changes in concepts as infrastructure as a code. And it also causes a lot of old hardware that might not be resold for a second life.

@JimGaynor is there any ETA to GA for this? As you said it is in preview for quite a while and customers are hesitant to plan this option as RDSH / Citrix alternative when they have no visibility about prices and terms. They are unlikely eager to put any workloads in testing or even production stage, even in preview until terms are clear. This mindset differs from customer to customer or region to region. But from what I see AVD in Azure is the only option that is being discussed by deciders as alternative, which is quite sad.

@RH "It is unclear to me why multi-user client is significantly different from terminal server, other than licensing. [...]no Intune, CSP (Policies) support.

That's quite easy to answer. It is not only Windows Server that is in question but also all Windows Client LTSC versions. Mind Windows Server is also an LTSC version, while less dominantly named in the product.

This causes constraints, technically, to support products and techniques coming from Azure PGs.

Actively seeing this on the matter how much of work it is to bring winget to Windows Server, while possible, but not yet supported. It is on the roadmap for winget but it is clear that LTSC as a definition and missing dependencies makes it harder to implement.

I personally do not like the clear split of management of WS and Clients aswell. Especially for SMB there are no "server" and seperate "client" teams, opposed to enterprises.

@Deleted That view seems to see it almost exclusively from the provider (software and hardware) side. From the customer side, the binding isn't technical, it's practical: e.g., small businesses running a single cluster for the majority of their workload simply can't upgrade that production system in place. It's far too risky.

@Deleted That misses the point: Microsoft could simply choose to provide CSP support in anything they want: they make all the Windows versions, including the LTSC versions. I don't think it's that simple anyway, as I'm pretty sure the non-LTSC versions of Server they've released don't have CSP support either.

@Elden Christensen, thanks for your summary of current options. We are facing a decision for our hosting service (CSP, SPLA) this year on which technical basis our software and M365 can be provided to customers in the future. Currently, we are running Windows Server (RDS) in conjunction with M365 because this combination offers the best cost-benefit relation for our high standardized workloads.

We would welcome a decision for a general M365 support in the mainstream support phase of the Windows Server (know-how, HyperV support, …). For security and support reasons we can also understand and accept a limitation to 5 years.

From a customer perspective, Windows 11 EMS & M365 offers the best experience and would be the favored solution. Since we support many, very small customers, the required operation of an Azure Stack HCI cluster per customer is not economically feasible and operable. Here, a release of Azure Stack HCI multi-tenant setup and licensing would be necessary or a Windows 11 EMS release with general HyperV support. Also, the support period of 2.5 years on Win11 EMS is challenging.

The last option of migrating the service to the cloud is currently not technically feasible as there is no centralized management of 20,000+ Azure tenants and all required services.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

@Elden Christensen @TJ_Devine - this is a good summary of the topic (M365 Client OS vs. Server OS) from the customer's point of view. Could you please make a statement on this? Thanks

@Deleted To be clear, I'm an independent analyst who covers RDS, AVD, and W365 (among other things) and not a Microsoft employee. So, no, I have no ETA on general availability of Azure Virtual Desktop on Stack HCI. 

Hi Jim, sorry for misreading your role and thanks for taking the time to bring up your information.

Hi @RH 

"I'm pretty sure the non-LTSC versions of Server they've released don't have CSP support either."

I agree with you, if this were the case also Azure Stack HCI, especially it is a cloud touched product, would support it but does not afaik. Hence Azure Stack HCI OS and Windows Server Datacenter Azure Edition do support Automanage, so their scope to manage Server OS and Client are still diverged, not only in terms of policies, but also in Terms of Security + Update Management. This is a model I am not agreeing with as it causes complexity for common to SMB and SMC for generic tasks. The target are corporations that have and can afford dedicated teams, and then it is fine also in terms of RBAC. I believe though, that this conception and weaknesses have been brought to attention already and I personally do not believe in a change here, solely as this would imply to redesign the whole Azure platform services, including on-premises via Arc. That's too much to ask. 
If we wonder why non LTSC version and named Azure centric OS do not offer CSP, well they have no GUI. Allow me to name a detail, even though it is a command-line, you cannot join WS Core to Azure AD via dsregcmd.exe, while it is present (for unclear reason) in the GUI installation option. This could give you an impression about their heading in this regard. I do not want to speak for them or their design decisions though, just my 2 cents. 

Hello @Deleted :)

I think I follow what you're describing/speculating. It sounds like the forked management model plan is Client for customers, and Server primarily for... Microsoft itself (for Azure). Customers now also have access to those same Azure management tools (including on-premises via Azure Stack HCI and Arc), but while these controls may make sense for Microsoft's use, they don't really map that nicely to how customers manage their servers. They are a subset of GPO/SCCM/CSP controls, and unless this is some hidden thing I've not yet stumbled across, some things simply can't be done because of that gap, such as applying Conditional Access controls based on Compliance status. 

Just to close the loop: looks like official support came out with v2302 (released 2/28/2023): https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/deployoffice/endofsupport/windows-server-support#windows-server-20...
Yes, we see that too. The way that page is written however, it almost makes it seem like another LTSC version of Windows (or Office!) will be released only grudgingly, with Microsoft always hinting that this may be the last time. This thread in general has moved from discussing that specific support item to trying to encourage Microsoft NOT to move to the "move fast and break things" philosophy... or the "make your customers pay more by dragging them to the cloud for everything"... we kind of need someone in IT to stay away from those ideas. Maybe it simply needs to go out of fashion?

@Elden Christensen 

 

Thanks for the initial extension.

However I have a summary of the support on of the microsoft apps on previous server versions.

Windows server 2008R2

Support Dates

Listing                                                   Start Date            Mainstream End Date    Extended End Date

Windows Server 2008 R2              Oct 22, 2009       Jan 13, 2015                        Jan 14, 2020

Microsoft 365 Apps isn’t supported on Windows Server 2008 R2, as of January 14, 2020.

11 years after start date

 

 

 

Windows Server 2012

Listing                                   Start Date            Mainstream End Date    Extended End Date

Windows Server 2012     Oct 30, 2012       Oct 9, 2018                          Oct 10, 2023

Microsoft 365 Apps isn’t supported on Windows Server 2008 R2, as of January 14, 2020.

8 years after start date

 

Windows Server 2012R2

Listing                                                   Start Date            Mainstream End Date    Extended End Date

Windows Server 2012 R2              Nov 25, 2013      Oct 9, 2018                          Oct 10, 2023

Microsoft 365 Apps isn’t supported on Windows Server 2012 R2, as of January 14, 2020.

7 years after start date

 

 

Windows Server 2016

Listing                                   Start Date            Mainstream End Date    Extended End Date

Windows Server 2016     Oct 15, 2016       Jan 11, 2022                        Jan 12, 2027

Microsoft 365 Apps is supported on Windows Server 2016 until October 2025.

9 years after start date

 

Windows Server 2019

Listing                                   Start Date            Mainstream End Date    Extended End Date

Windows Server 2019     Nov 13, 2018      Jan 9, 2024                          Jan 9, 2029

Microsoft 365 Apps is supported on Windows Server 2019 until October 2025.

7 years after start date

 

Windows Server 2022

Listing                                   Start Date            Mainstream End Date    Extended End Date

Windows Server 2022     Aug 18, 2021       Oct 13, 2026                       Oct 14, 2031

Microsoft 365 Apps is supported on Windows Server 2019 until October 2025.

4 Years after start date

 

So although providing support till 2025 is a good initial step , it's not sufficient.

Previously Microsoft365 apps were supported for 7 to 11 years on the previous windows server operating systems.

Now with server 2022 there is support for only 4 years.

That is unheard of and not acceptable.

 

regards

 

The new support policy is that M365 is supported on Windows Server during its Mainstream support period. The Mainstream support period is the first 5-years and there are new LTSC releases of Windows Server every 2- 3 years.

Stay Current | Stay Secure | Stay Supported


Thanks!
Elden

Windows Server end of support and Microsoft 365 Apps - Deploy Office | Microsoft Learn

@Elden Christensen 

I believe aug 2021 to oct 2025 is 4 years.

 

I have read something about the new support policy.

But the main point is that a product that had support for 11 years , is now reduced to a product that has 4 years of support.

Inherently means that we the lifetime support and investment in a product has been reduced to 1/3 of what it previously was, and therefor investments are now also 3x as often as before. at the very best investments are 2x more often (and I have to assume at the same price since our CS reseller did sell the new server 2022 at the same high end price as the previous server OS that we had purchased in the past. (not to mention that we did not mention (while he knew) that the support of the microsoft365 apps are now on a lower support cycle.

So same price,  and less support on the microsoft365 apps for essentially the same product.

regards

 

Leopold

@Elden Christensen The strategy is comprehensible for us. M365 has short functional update cycles and the server is in LTSC. Support for M365 on Windows Server in mainstream support is a good compromise. The important thing for us is to get saftey for planning. Is M365 supported on the Vnext server in mainstream support?

Yeah, believe me none of us are happy that we'll have to upgrade more often, BUT it's better than being told sorry you can't do it at all! So please just keep allowing this and releasing LTSC versions of Windows Server with RDSH and Office LTSC as well.
@Elden Christensen
This is a great compromise. Thank you for making this possible.

To you have a link to a official Microsoft Document, to the new Support Policy Document. so we can switch in this direction?

Thanks

Bernd