In order to align Windows 10 major updates with Office 365 Pro Plus and simplify deployment cycles, Microsoft has merged the Current Branch (CB) and Current Branch for Business (CBB) in a single update branch "Semi-Annual Channel". It will be a new twice-yearly release cadence.
The following announcement was today released by Microsoft:
In response to feedback for a more predictable feature update model, we are moving to a new twice-yearly release cadence called the Semi-Annual Channel that replaces the Current Branch (CB) and Current Branch for Business (CBB). As we announced in April, Windows has aligned with Office 365 ProPlus to simplify IT deployment cycles, targeting releases in March and September. Both feature releases will be serviced for 18 months from the date of release. The Creators Update marks the first of our Semi-Annual Channel releases.
The new Semi-Annual Channel update cadence and life cycle model provides commercial customers with greater predictability and simplicity to take advantage of the latest capabilities and integrated security, as quickly as is practical for their organization. This predictable release cycle enables enterprises to plan combined servicing of Windows and Office and create deployment plans tailored to their needs.
Starting with the Windows Insider Program for Business, IT Pro early adopters can evaluate pre-release builds early and provide feedback across the ecosystem – to us and their IHV/ISV partners – so we can, together as an ecosystem, build reliable, highly productive and secure products and experiences for our customers. When the Semi-Annual Channel feature update is released, organizations can begin targeted deployments to a select group of machines to validate their apps, devices, and infrastructure, prior to beginning a broad deployment at a time that is right for them. For details on Semi-Annual Channel servicing, see our article on TechNet.
This means that Current Branch for Business won't benefit from additional testing done by users of the Current Branch. This branch will receive updates notably faster. From now, businesses who used this branch will have to perform extra testing to ensure that the upgrade fits their production environment.
Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) is renamed to the Long-Term Servicing Channel. Its update cycle is now every 2-3 years. Microsoft promises to support customers on this channel for a minimum of 10 years.
Microsoft is simplifying the update channels but it comes at a cost of reduced testing of each update and build. It is a double-edged sword.
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