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Some customers complain that the Windows Server release schedule is too slow, while other users are content to stretch out the upgrade process.
Microsoft found a happy medium with Windows Server 2016, which offers an alternative to the Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) and its traditional Windows Server feature release cadence of about every two years.
In June 2017, the company said Windows Server would join the Semi-Annual Channel release program and introduce new features every six months -- in the spring and fall each year. Microsoft pitches this Windows Server release to particular enterprises, such as DevOps practitioners, that use modern applications and want up-to-date technology.
Semi-Annual Channel releases receive 18 months of mainstream support, with the expectation that the business upgrades to a new version by the time support ends. Microsoft designed the faster rollouts to suit businesses that work on rapid development cycles in the cloud and need new functionality. Windows Server version 1709 is the first product in this channel and features Nano Server refactored as a container image and support for Linux containers with Hyper-V isolation.
LTSC rollouts will include the features from the Semi-Annual Channel releases packaged up into one new product. The next LTSC version will appear in 2019 or 2020.