September is always an exciting month for those of us at Microsoft who work in the Windows Server business. September means Ignite, which is always packed with opportunities to connect with great customers and unveil exciting announcements. And this year is no exception!

Today we are excited to announce the launch of the first release of Windows Server to ship in the Semi-Annual Channel. We call it version 1709 (get it? 2017, ninth month?) and it’s a really important step in the evolution of Windows Server. With releases every six months, the Semi-Annual Channel is designed to deliver continuous innovation for customers who want to take advantage of new operating system capabilities at a faster pace.

Windows Server 2016 was a significant release for us as it set us on a path of continuous innovation and delivery for this product in much the same way many of you are modernizing your applications. It’s only been a year since the launch and we’re pleased to deliver many cool new features so quickly. While our work continues to span investments across the application platform and virtualization infrastructure, for this specific release you’ll see a majority of investments accruing to applications, particularly those built on containers and microservices.

Application innovation with containers and microservices

We know many customers are still taking their first steps in the process of modernizing their applications. For those customers we have an updated Server Core container image that has been further optimized for lift-and-shift scenarios where you can migrate existing code bases or applications into containers with minimal if any changes – and it’s also 60% smaller. We also have an updated Nano Server container image that is nearly 80% smaller – perfect for your new cloud applications or microservices.

Flexibility is another important aspect for customers running containers and we heard from customers that they want choice in the frameworks and platforms they use. As announced at DockerCon back in April, we are bringing support for Linux containers natively to Windows Server. The platform work is in version 1709 and the Docker work is nearly completed as well! This flexibility enables customers running Windows and Linux containers to run it on the same Windows host side-by-side and with your choice of Linux kernels provided by major Linux vendors.

As we onboard more and more Linux applications on Windows Server, we also want to ensure the current tools and scripts you use will work naturally. The Windows Subsystem for Linux (also known as Bash on Windows) allows developers and operations teams to bring their existing scripts to the Windows Server environment – saving precious time and allowing a faster ramp-up.

A new management experience for Windows Server

On September 14th, we also announced Project “Honolulu” – a new flexible, locally-deployed, browser-based management platform for managing Windows Server. With support for both hybrid and traditional disconnected server environments, Project “Honolulu” provides a quick and easy solution for common IT admin tasks with a lightweight deployment to remotely manage not only Windows Server, version 1709, but Windows Server 2016, 2012 R2 and 2012.

You can check out the technical preview of Project “Honolulu” for yourself today.

Here’s a quick video of Jeff Woolsey, Principal Program Manager in the Windows Server team, talking about Windows Server, version 1709 and the new management experience:


We are excited to bring Windows server, version 1709 on Azure to you in early October. Customers with Software Assurance on their Windows Server licenses or MSDN licenses will be able to download this release from the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) portal starting in mid-October.

Get started today and join the conversation!

An important aspect of our development process is how much feedback from users around the world influences the final product, and this release is no exception. Earlier this summer, Windows Server began participating in the Windows Insiders program which has really amplified the number of people evaluating and testing early releases. It’s really based on their feedback that we decide what features will be shipped in each release. If you haven’t yet signed up to participate in the program, I’d encourage you to do it today. It’s simple to get started and your feedback goes right to the people creating the product! You can also join the conversation via Microsoft Tech Community, which has grown to over 11K members since last Ignite!

We can’t wait to hear the amazing things you’ll be doing with Windows Server!