Support for Windows Server 20H2 and Semi-Annual Channel for Microsoft’s veteran server product is expected to end in a few weeks.
The clock is ticking to August 9, when Windows Server 20H2 will not receive the monthly security and quality updates that administrators have been so excited about. It will instead fall into obsolescence and join the Home and Pro versions of Windows 10 20H2, which had their last updates in May 2022. The Education, Enterprise and IoT Enterprise editions of Windows 10 20H2 will continue to be serviced until to May 9. 2023.
The vision for the Semi-Annual Channel (SAC) was to accelerate the release cadence, “allowing customers to benefit from innovation faster,” according to Microsoft. Each release received 18 months of support, and the focus was on containers and microservices.
It was a good idea, but administrators prefer stability. While Kubernetes and its ilk drop releases (three revisions per year have dropped since 2020), Windows Server has not. Before semi-annual releases began in 2019, there was usually a gap of a year or more to catch our breath.
The Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC), released every two to three years with five years of general support and five years of extended support, is a better bet for admins concerned about keeping everything functionally stable. Sure, it gets security patches, but it doesn’t get the new features and functionality of its SAC sibling.
At the time of writing, users can choose between Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server 2022 to satisfy their LTSC desires.
Or, for users who really can’t live without new toys to play with on their servers, there’s always Azure Stack HCI (hyperconverged infrastructure). While Microsoft would love for you to buy validated hardware from one of its OEM buddies to run Stack HCI, it is possible to install the OS yourself (but look very carefully at the hardware requirements).
In the meantime, however, the impending demise of Window Server 20H2 next month means the end of the road for both this version of the operating system and the Semi-Annual Channel. ®