Windows Server Annual Channel for Containers
Published Jul 05 2023 11:17 AM 10.1K Views

Announcing Windows Server Annual Channel for Containers


Many of our Windows Server customers who use containers have expressed a need for faster innovation to keep up with this technology. Today, we’d like to share our progress on a new Windows Server Annual Channel for Containers. The goal of this new release is to provide an experience optimized for Windows Server host for Kubernetes and Windows Server container customers. The first version will be available later this year with preview access in July. You can also contact our Windows Containers team with interest today.


This will be a completely optional upgrade to suit the needs of customers requiring increased innovation cycles. One of the first big features of the annual channel is portability. This is one of the most requested features from our customers and with the first annual release, we are happy to announce support for this feature.


Portability addresses a key difference between Windows and Linux containers, which can delay customers’ accessing the latest Windows Server features due to the fact that Windows containers previously required that workloads have matching container image versions. For example, Windows Server 2019 process-isolated containers cannot run on a Windows Server 2022 host.


The new portability functionality will enable Windows Server 2022-based container image OS to run on newer versions of Windows Server host OS such as the new annual channel release. This support will enable customers and container services like Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) to provide updated container host versions of Windows Server on a frequent basis without requiring customers to update their containers, much like Linux does already.


What’s Coming?

While we expect that most customers will continue to prefer their current main Long Term Servicing Channel Releases (LTSC), such as Windows Server 2022 Datacenter, for our containers-focused customers the new capabilities in this annual channel release create new efficiencies. The new Windows Server Annual Channel for Containers will ship every year and be available as an opt-in, creating added choices to the LTSC releases we offer today. With this release, Windows on AKS customers will be able to take advantage of this through a new Windows OS SKU with versioning aligned to Kubernetes versions, creating a parallel to the Linux upgrade process.

We look forward to sharing preview details on the upcoming Windows Server Annual Channel for Containers.


- Hari Pulapaka
Head of Product for Windows Server on behalf of the Windows Server team









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‎Jul 05 2023 12:57 PM
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