Guest OS support lifecycle on Windows Azure

On the latest Windows Azure newsletter that landed in my mailbox Microsoft included the following paragraph –

Guest OS family 4 availability and Guest OS family 1 retirement
Effective June 2, 2014, Windows Azure will stop supporting guest operating system (Guest OS) family 1 for new and existing Cloud Services deployments. Developers are advised to move to the latest/supported Guest OS families before this deadline to avoid potential disruption of their cloud services.

Although based on a sample of exactly 1 – this provides an answer to a question I get asked regularly and never had a concrete answer for – how long will Azure support an operating system for

Given that so far Azure supported any operating system it had ever supported there was no clear indication when Microsoft will start to retire Guest OS’ from Azure. Until now.

My expectation was always that Guest OS’ will be supported on Azure as long as their on-premises equivalents are in mainstream support, but it looks like this is not the case as Windows Server 2008 SP2’s mainstream support runs until January 13th, 2015 – a year away.

4 years is a long time in computing these days, and the industry is moving in a faster and faster pace, so I can see why Microsoft would want to keep the platform moving forward so that they can offer the latest and greatest and I have, for a while now, encouraged customers to consider Windows Server 2008 R2 the minimum support O/S to avoid this issue, but it would have been good to align with the OS’ mainstream support cycle.

Another answer that was given is to the question – how much of a notice will Microsoft provide when they retire an OS – around 4 months.

About Yossi Dahan
I work as a cloud solutions architect in the Azure team at Microsoft UK. I spend my days working with customers helping be successful in the cloud with Microsoft Azure.

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