Microsoft emits next year's Windows Server for lucky Insiders... as for the rest of you, see you vNext year

When is semi-annual not semi-annual? Never mind that - check out our WAC, SAC and um... never mind

Microsoft continued its rich tradition of baffling users with its release dates by dropping a fresh build of the semi-annual channel edition of Windows Server vNext unlikely to actually hit until next year.

Customers have the option of running Server editions from the Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC), which enjoys a release every two or three years, or the Semi-Annual Channel (SAC), which sees a new release twice a year.

Build 18917 is the SAC edition but, rather than being the next version (due around October from the 19H2 branch of the code), it's apparently from the 20H1 branch, which will hit later in 2020.

19H2 remains missing in action, having been promised, in Windows 10 form at least, by the end of Spring. As a reminder for the Insider gang, Summer (as far as the Northern Hemisphere is concerned) starts on 21 June.

Version confusion aside, the release is a light one as far as Windows Server vNext is concerned, with a few bug fixes and known issues. However, the preview of Windows Admin Center (WAC) 1906, which appeared at the same time, has been festooned with love by Microsoft.

WAC-a-VM

The first preview of WAC since the April's release to General Availability is full of toys, including the admin-pleasing ability to select individual Windows updates to install. The gang has also added connectivity settings to allow users to specify they are offline, thus stopping nagging from WAC components that want Internet access.

The Virtual Machines tool is also improved, adding Import and Export functionality with some provisos – importing a VM and creating copy of the files will see data saved to the volume's root folder instead of to the Hyper-V folder. A fix is apparently incoming.

VMs can also be tagged, and page load time has been cut.

Finally, Azure integration has been improved with an eye to fiddling with services in the future. The Hybrid Services tool now works from a feed, meaning that an update of the tool isn't required when services are added, and switching between multiple Azure accounts is a mere menu setting away. ®

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