Q. How will Windows Server 2016 use Current Branch and Long Term Servicing Branch?

A. Windows 10 has a Current Branch that is updated every 4-6 months, a Current Branch for Business (which is one release behind the Current Branch) for Pro and Enterprise Windows 10 customers. Microsoft supports two branches, the most recent branch and the prior branch. When another branch is released the n-2 will no longer be supported and have updates provided for it. This means when adopting Current Branch its important to accept and plan for rolling out the updated branch every 4-6 months. Additionally there is a Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) option which is updated every couple of years and follows the regular Microsoft support model with 5 years of support then 5 years of extended support with ongoing updates.

Windows Server 2016 has three different installation options; Nano Server, Server Core and Server with Desktop Experience. They will use the various branch types as follows:

  • Nano Server - Current Branch for Business only (no LTSB)
  • Server Core - Long Term Servicing Branch only (no CBB)
  • Server with Desktop Experience - Long Term Servicing Branch only (no CBB)

Note that with Server Core the builds will not automatically update however like Windows 10 only the most recent and previous builds will be supported and have updates provided which means it will be important for organizations to have the processes in place to keep Nano Server deployments updated.

Microsoft has an official blog entry on this at https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/windowsserver/2016/07/12/windows-server-2016-new-current-branch-for-business-servicing-option/.