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Azure Guest OS Releases and SDK Compatibility Matrix

Updated: September 22, 2014

ImportantImportant
This page applies to Cloud Services web and worker roles, which run on top of a Guest OS. It does not apply to IaaS Virtual Machines. If you configure your roles to use automatic Guest OS updates as described in Azure Guest OS Update Settings, it is not vital that you read this page.

TipTip
Subscribe to the Guest OS Update RSS Feed to receive the most timely notification on all Guest OS changes. Changes mentioned on that feed will be integrated into this page approximately every week.

Sept 19, 2014 – The disable dates for the June and July releases have been moved later again. A link to the MSRC patch causing the .NET 3.5.1 install issue in the August release has been added here and below.

Sept 19, 2014 – A note on support for .NET 4.5.2 has been added to this page. .NET 4.5.2 has not been specifically tested on the Azure Guest OS, but the Guest OS is essentially equivalent to Windows Server. The same compatibility rules that apply to the Windows Server product therefore apply to the equivalent Guest OS Families. If you encounter an exception to this policy, please contact Azure support. Microsoft will give a commercially reasonable effort to resolve your issue. You can find the manual install package for .NET 4.5.2 here..

Sept 19, 2014 – September 2014 Guest OS release (versions 4.12, 3.19, 2.31, and 1.39) has begun rollout. There is a release 2 in process. The release table below has been updated. Only people who redeployed or updated while on automatic update sometime after Sept 15th, 2014 will have release 1.

Sept 15, 2014 – September 2014 Guest OS release (versions 4.12, 3.19, 2.31, and 1.39) is projected to start Sep 15th.

Sept 15, 2014 – Because August release was only partially rolled out, you should note the following:

1) The cipher changes outlined in Differences between Azure Guest OS and Default Windows Server have not been rolled out across the entirety of Azure. Customers not on the August release will receive these changes in the September release.

2) The August Guest OS has been disabled in the Management Portal. You cannot manually choose it. This is to protect against issues that could arise if you select this Guest OS version, but it is not installed on your Azure hardware cluster.

3) The disabled dates of some earlier releases have been adjusted forward slightly to give more time for an update to the September release.

Sept 2, 2014 – The August release is only being partially rolled out to save customers from an additional reboot. If you are on automatic upgrade and are still running the July Guest OS at this time, you will not be upgraded until the September release. The August release rolled out to approximately a third of Azure hardware clusters before the discovery of a problem introduced by an MSRC patch. The newer rerelease was rolled out to the same clusters to fix the problem, but it has not been rolled out to the remaining ones. The Sept release will occur sometime after Sept 9th when the latest MSRC patches become publicly available and roll out to all of Azure.

Sept 2, 2014 – Guest OS family 1, based on Windows Server 2008, has been retired. You will not be able to manage services running on this Guest OS. For more information, see Azure Guest OS Family 1 Retirement Information

Aug 28, 2014 – The August release is being re-released to fix a problem around manual installation of .NET 3.5.1 introduced by an MSRC patch. If you cloud services rebooted once between August 19th and today, they will reboot again to get the newer updated version of the August Guest OS.

WarningWarning
July 22, 2014 –The August release (versions 4.11, 3.18, 2.30, and 1.38) will include Cipher Suite enhancements that go beyond the normal Windows Server defaults. Please see Differences between Azure Guest OS and Default Windows Server to determine if your application might be affected by these changes.

This section lists the currently supported Guest OS versions. Guest OS families and versions have a disabled date and an expiration date. A Guest OS is removed from the management portal on or after its "disabled" date. It is then "in transition" but is supported with limited ability to update a deployment. The expiration date is when a version or family is scheduled to be removed from the Azure system completely. Cloud services still running on a version when it expires will be stopped, deleted or force upgraded to a newer version depending on the policies listed earlier on this page.

WarningWarning
*The retirement of Guest OS family 1 began June 1, 2013 and is scheduled to complete soon. Do not create new installations and upgrade older ones using this Guest OS family. For more information see Azure Guest OS Family 1 Retirement Information

The Guest OS includes configuration different from the defaults of Windows Server. For more information see Differences between Azure Guest OS and Default Windows Server.

The Guest OS version will not be disabled or force updated before the dates listed below.

 

Guest OS Version Configuration String Release Date Disable Date (removed from Portal) Expiration Date (forced update sometime after this date)

FAMILY 4
Windows Server 2012 R2
Supports .NET 4.0, 4.5, 4.5.1, 4.5.2 (Note 2)

4.12

WA-GUEST-OS-4.12_201409-02

Sept 15 2014

TDB

TBD

4.11 (Note1)

WA-GUEST-OS-4.11_201408-02

Aug 25 2014

Sept 11 2014

TBD

4.10

WA-GUEST-OS-4.10_201407-01

July 18 2014

Oct 6 2014

TBD

4.9

WA-GUEST-OS-4.9_201406-01

June 16 2014

Sept 26

TBD

4.8

WA-GUEST-OS-4.8_201405-01

June 1 2014

Aug 1 2014

TBD

FAMILY 3
Windows Server 2012
Supports .NET 4.0, 4.5

3.19

WA-GUEST-OS-3.19_201409-02

Sept 15 2014

TBD

TBD

3.18 (Note1)

WA-GUEST-OS-3.18_201408-02

Aug 25 2014

Sept 11 2014

TBD

3.17

WA-GUEST-OS-3.17_201407-01

July 18 2014

Oct 6 2014

TBD

3.16

WA-GUEST-OS-3.16_201406-01

June 16 2014

Sept 26 2014

TBD

3.15

WA-GUEST-OS-3.15_201405-01

June 1 2014

Aug 1 2014

TBD

FAMILY 2
Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
Supports .NET 3.5, 4.0

2.31

WA-GUEST-OS-2.31_201409-02

Sept 15 2014

TBD

TBD

2.30 (Note1)

WA-GUEST-OS-2.30_201408-02

Aug 25 2014

Sept 11

TBD

2.29

WA-GUEST-OS-2.29_201407-01

July 18 2014

Oct 6 2014

TBD

2.28

WA-GUEST-OS-2.28_201406-01

June 16 2014

Sept 26

TBD

2.27

WA-GUEST-OS-2.27_201405-01

June 1 2014

Aug 1 2014

TBD

FAMILY 1
Windows Server 2008 SP2
3.5, 4.0. Does NOT support 4.5 or later even if manually installed.

   

Sept 2 2014

See Azure Guest OS Family 1 Retirement Information

1.39

WA-GUEST-OS-1.39_201409-02

Sept 15 2014

Sept 2 2014

See Azure Guest OS Family 1 Retirement Information

1.38

WA-GUEST-OS-1.38_201408-02

Aug 25 2014

Sept 2 2014

See Azure Guest OS Family 1 Retirement Information

1.37

WA-GUEST-OS-1.37_201407-01

July 18 2014

Sept 2 2014

See Azure Guest OS Family 1 Retirement Information

1.36

WA-GUEST-OS-1.36_201406-01

June 1 2014

Sept 2 2014

See Azure Guest OS Family 1 Retirement Information

1.35

WA-GUEST-OS-1.35_201405-01

June 1 2014

Aug 1 2014

See Azure Guest OS Family 1 Retirement Information

Note 1 - The August 2014 release was partially rolled out due to issues found with an MSRC patchpartway through release. The problem didn't allow the manual install of .NET 3.5.1 on some Guest OS families. A newer rerelease was rolled out to the same Azure clusters to fix the problem, but was not rolled out to the remaining ones. The release was disabled as a precaution so customers could not manually select it on hardware clusters that did not have it installed.

Note 2 – As of Sept 19, 2014, .NET 4.5.2 has not been specifically tested on the Azure Guest OS. But the Guest OS is essentially equivalent to Windows Server. The same compatibility rules that apply to the Windows Server product therefore apply to the equivalent Guest OS Families. If you encounter an exception to this policy, please contact Azure support. Microsoft will give a commercially reasonable effort to resolve your issue. Manual install package for .NET 4.5.2.

This table shows which Guest OS family is compatible with which Azure SDK versions. For more information beyond this table, see Azure SDK for .NET Support and Retirement Information. Any information at this list supersedes the information below.

ImportantImportant
To ensure that your service works as expected, you must deploy it to Guest OS release that is compatible with the version of the Azure SDK used to develop your service. If you do not, the deployed service may exhibit errors in the cloud that were not apparent in the development environment.

 

Guest OS Family SDK Versions Supported

1

Version 1.0 and later

2

Version 1.3 and later

3

Version 1.8 and later

4

Version 2.1 and later

The Guest OS families are based on released versions of Microsoft Windows Server. The Guest OS is the underlying operating system that Azure Cloud Services run on. Each Guest OS has a family, version and release number.

A "Guest OS family" corresponds to a Windows Server operating system release that a Guest OS is based on. For example, family 3 is based on Windows Server 2012.

A "Guest OS version" is the family OS image plus relevant Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) patches available at the date the new Guest OS version is produced. Not all patches may be included. Numbers start at 0 and increment by 1 each time a new set of updates is added. Trailing zeros are only shown if important. That is, version 2.10 is a different, much later version than version 2.1.

A "Guest OS release" refers to a rerelease of a Guest OS version. A rerelease occurs if Microsoft finds issues during testing requiring changes. The latest release always supersedes any previous releases, public or not. The management portal will only allow users to pick the latest release for a given version. Deployments running on a previous release are usually not force upgraded depending on the severity of the bug.

In the example below, 2 is the family, 12 is the version and "rel2" is the release.

Guest OS release - 2.12 rel2
Configuration string for this release - WA-GUEST-OS-2.12_201208-02

The configuration string for a Guest OS has this same information embedded in it, along with a date showing which MSRC patches were considered for that release. In this example, MSRC patches produced for Windows Server 2008 R2 up to and including August 2012 were considered for inclusion. Only patches specifically applying to that version of Windows Server are included. For example, if an MSRC patch applies to Microsoft Office, it will not be included because that product is not part of the Windows Server base image.

This page includes information on upcoming Guest OS Releases. Customers have indicated that they want to know when a release occurs because their cloud service roles will reboot if they are set to "Automatic" update. Guest OS releases typically occur at least 5 days after the MSRC update release that occurs on the second Tuesday of every month. New releases include all the relevant MSRC patches for each Guest OS family.

Microsoft Azure is constantly releasing updates. The Guest OS is only one such update in the pipeline. A release can be affected by a number of factors too numerous to list here. In addition, Azure runs on literally hundreds of thousands of machines. This means that it's impossible to give an exact date and time when your role(s) will reboot. We will update the Guest OS Update RSS Feed with the latest information we have, but consider that time an approximate window. We are aware that this is problematic for customers and working on a plan to limit or time reboots.

When a new release of the Guest OS is published, it can take time to fully propagate across Azure. As services are updated to the new Guest OS, they are rebooted honoring update domains. Services set to use "Automatic" updates will get a release first. After the update, you’ll see the new Guest OS version listed for your service in the Azure Management Portal. Rereleases may occur during this period. Some versions may be deployed over longer periods of time and automatic upgrade reboots may not occur for many weeks after the official release date. Once a Guest OS is available, you can then explicitly choose that version from the portal or in your configuration file. For more information, see Update the Azure Guest OS from the Management Portal and Update the Azure Guest OS by Modifying the Service Configuration File.

For a great deal of valuable information on restarts and pointers to more information technical details of Guest and Host OS updates, see the MSDN blog post titled Role Instance Restarts Due to OS Upgrades.

If you manually update your Guest OS, please read the important information below on Guest OS support and retirement.

Microsoft makes the Guest OS release as secure as possible as soon as possible. Every relevant new MSRC update is integrated into the very next Guest OS release. The Guest OS is based on Windows Server, so updates that do not apply to Windows Server won't apply to the Guest OS.

To know if a particular MSRC update is in a particular Guest OS version, refer to the last part of the configuration string. For an explanation of this string, see Guest OS Family, Version and Release Explanation. For example, Guest OS version 3.8 has the configuration string WA-GUEST-OS-3.8_201310-01. Guest OS family 3 is functionally equivalent Windows Server 2012. The "201310" in the configuration string indicates that all MSRC patches applying to Windows Server 2012 up to and including the October 2013 MSRC release are integrated into Guest OS version 3.8.

In the past, we've published a table that explicitly lists the updates applied to the Guest OS at Azure Guest OS MSRC Updates Matrix. Going forward, we will not maintain this table because you can obtain this information using the rules stated in the previous paragraph.

See Also

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