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Microsoft Makes Windows Server 2022's Release Official

Windows Server 2022 became generally available two weeks ago to strangely little fanfare, but on Wednesday, Microsoft made it official.

The company deemed Windows Server 2022 production-ready in a blog post by Bernardo Caldas, head of Program Management, Core OS and Edge Infrastructure at Microsoft. He also announced the general availability (GA) of Windows Server IoT 2022.

Microsoft provided a fairly full description of Windows Server 2022 features back in June. Organizations have both Core and Desktop installation options for all editions of Windows Server 2022. The product follows Microsoft's traditional Fixed Lifecycle Policy, with five years of "mainstream" support and five years of "extended" support.

The product update cycle for Windows Server 2022 follows the long-term servicing channel, with new product releases occurring every two to three years. Microsoft earlier this year ended its semiannual channel update option for all Windows Server products.

Windows Server 2022 supports in-place upgrades from Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server 2016, a Microsoft spokesperson clarified, via a Thursday e-mail.

Windows Server 2022 GA
As previously reported, Microsoft's lifecycle support page shows Windows Server 2022 as having reached the GA stage back on Aug. 18. That date apparently was picked so that Windows Server 2022 would hit product end on an "update Tuesday" date (the second Tuesday of a month), according to an explanation by Arpan Shah, general manager of Azure. His full statement is captured in this ZDNet article by journalist Mary Jo Foley.

The Sept. 1 date marked GA for all customers, the spokesperson explained:

We announced Windows Server on September 1, when it became generally available to all customers, including new customers. Only customers who already had Windows Server were able to download the new Windows Server on 8/18.

Foley also discovered that Microsoft isn't planning on releasing a Hyper-V Server 2022 product. The 2019 version of the product is the last of its kind. Microsoft wants those customers to switch to using Azure Stack HCI instead.

Just the free Hyper-V Server 2019 product will be going away, but it's supported until Jan. 2029. Hyper-V is included in Windows Servers, though, the spokesperson explained.

With the release of Windows Server 2022, Hyper-V is included as an in-box role in Windows Server 2022 Datacenter, Standard, and Essential editions, as it has been with for previous releases for more than a decade.

Windows Server 2022 Availability
Windows Server 2022 products sold by Microsoft's hardware vendor partners weren't listed; Microsoft just pointed to this partner directory search page. Microsoft did recently publish a note to its storage partners about testing Windows Server 2022, so hardware partner efforts are likely are at various states.

It's possible to download Windows Server 2022 bits for testing via the Windows Server Evaluation Center page.

The server can be accessed for running in an Azure virtual machine via the Azure Marketplace. The bits also are available for download from Microsoft's Volume Licensing Service Center page.

Windows Server 2022 Editions
Windows Server 2022 is currently offered in three editions -- Datacenter, Standard and Essentials -- according to Microsoft's pricing page.

The Datacenter edition of Windows Server 2022 is for "highly virtualized datacenters and cloud environments," priced at about $6,155. The Standard edition is for "physical or minimally virtualized environments," priced at about $1,065. The Essentials edition is for "small businesses with up to 25 users and 50 devices," priced at about $501.

The Essentials edition is the only offering listed that does not bear Client Access Licensing (CAL) costs. When CALs are required, every client needs to have CAL license to access servers.

Differences between the Standard edition and the Datacenter edition of Windows Server 2022 are called out in the pricing page.

A server licensed under Standard edition can only run two operating system environments (OSEs) or virtual machines. The Datacenter edition can run unlimited OSEs or virtual machines. The Standard edition just supports a "single Storage Replica volume up to 2TB," whereas Datacenter edition has full Storage Replica support. The Standard edition also lacks software-defined networking and software-defined storage features.

In June, Microsoft had described an Azure edition of Windows Server 2022 at the preview stage, which was later called the "Datacenter Azure edition," but this edition isn't currently shown on Microsoft's pricing page. This product gives organizations access to new a new "Azure Automanage" feature with its "hotpatch" capability. This Datacenter Azure edition and the Azure Automanage feature still seem to be at the preview stage.

Windows Server 2022 Datacenter Azure edition will be available as image in the Azure gallery, the spokesperson clarified:

Windows Server 2022 Datacenter: Azure Edition is a Windows Server image in the Azure gallery that provides customers with additional capabilities such as HotPatch, SMB over QUIC for secure file server migrations and more, when used with Azure Automanage.

Windows Server Summit
Microsoft is planning to talk more about Windows Server 2022 at its public Windows Server Summit online event (sign-up here), happening on Sept. 16 at 10 a.m. PST.

The talk will feature Windows Server luminaries. It brings a "first in-depth look at Windows Server 2022." The event also will include discussion about Windows Server IoT 2022.

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