Microsoft is changing its upgrade strategy, this change affects the semi-annual feature upgrades. The first steps in this direction have already been a bit earlier, in 2018 Microsoft has announced the fall release to provide 30 months of support. This also makes sense under the new strategy.
Along with the further step, elimination of the “Semi-Annual Channel-Targeted (SAC-T)”. The “Semi-Annual Channel (SAC)” and the “Semi-Annual Channel-Targeted (SAC-T)” had inherited the two branches “Current Branch (CB)” and the “Current Branch for Business (CCB)” and were their replacements.
Now it is becoming clear that in the future the half-year release in autumn could rather become a kind of service pack. At least if the spring release is already installed. Some media are already speculating that this could always be the case in the future.
What Would Be If…
Companies would then have more time to observe the new functions while skipping the spring upgrade.
This is how a WaaS cycle could look like (all times are estimates without guarantee):
20H1 RTM -12 month
Skip-a-head insider for the very curious
20H1 RTM -6 month
Insider Preview – Companies can gain initial experience and get an overview. First applications could also be tested.
Now the final tests and the pilot phase can begin with selected testers.
Start of the main rollout of 20H1 RTM. After a shortened test cycle, 20H2 can be installed after it.
20H2 RTM + 12 month
Start of the process from the beginning with Insider Preview 22H1
H2 RTM +18 month
RTM 22H1 – The final tests for 22H1 can begin.
Thus, companies can skip a feature upgrade or one year, assuming they have Enterprise Edition. Therefore there is a good 2 years time between migrations for the user. Due to the 30 months support, you could even skip 2 versions, but then everything has to go smoothly. If you wanted to take it to the extreme, and are willing to take risks, you could stretch the Windows as a Service cycle to 30 months. But for that, the test and the migration have to be done with the corresponding H1 version.
About the Preview Phase
This article first appeared on Infrastrukturhelden.de in German.