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Azure Guest OS Releases and SDK Compatibility Matrix

Updated: March 27, 2014

If you configure your roles to use automatic Guest OS updates as described in Configure Settings for the Azure Guest OS 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.

Jump to a section in this page. Some sections may not be expanded by default.

What’s New

Guest OS Family, Version and Release Explanation

Guest OS System Update Process

Guest OS Supportability and Retirement Policy and process.

Future, Current and Transitional Guest OS Versions including Azure SDK compatibility information and Guest OS release and support status..

Retired Guest OS Versions

MSRC Updates Included in Guest OS

April 16, 2014 – Guest OS March release (versions 4.6, 3.13, 2.24, and 1.33) completed April 15th and includes relevant MSRC updates through March 2014.

April 16, 2014 – Disable and expiration dates have been updated in the Future, Current and Transitional Guest OS section.

March 24, 2014 – Guest OS February release (versions 4.5, 3.12, 2.23, and 1.32) started on March 11th and completed March 21st. The release includes the relevant MSRC updates through February 2014.

Feb 6, 2014 – The implementation of the Guest OS version retirement policy has been modified for clarity. The policy itself has not changed. The latest two versions of each Guest OS family are still supported.

Previously the date a Guest OS was "disabled" was not published. "Disabled" means the Guest OS is removed from the Management Portal, and updates and new deployments of that version are limited. That information has now been added to this page. A Guest OS version is disabled approximately 60 days after a release. The expiration date is the date after which a Guest OS may be force upgraded.

The exact dates of these events are published in Future, Current and Transitional Guest OS Versions

Jan 23, 2014 – The date that Guest OS Family 1 will be disabled has slipped from March 1st to June 2nd, 2014. See Future, Current and Transitional Guest OS Versions for more information on the retirement of Guest OS Family 1.

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 and approximate window. Microsoft is 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 has a published support policy for the Guest OS. For more information see the Azure Support and Lifecycle Policy.

The policy is

  1. Microsoft will support at least the latest two families of the Guest OS. When a family is retired, customers have 12 months from the official retirement date to update to a newer supported Guest OS family.

  2. Microsoft will support the at least the latest two versions of the supported Guest OS families.

  3. Microsoft will support the at least the latest two versions of the Azure SDK. When a version of the SDK is retired, customers will have 12 months from the official retirement date to update to a newer version.

At times more than two families or releases may be supported for short times. Official Guest OS support information will appear on this page.

When a Guest OS family or version is retired

A new Guest OS family is introduced sometime after the release of a new official version of the Windows Server operating system. Whenever a new Guest OS family is introduced, Microsoft will retire the oldest Guest OS family.

New Guest OS versions are introduced about every month to incorporate the latest MSRC updates. Because of the regular monthly updates, a Guest OS version is normally disabled 60 days after its release and expires 120 days after release. This keeps at least two Guest OSes versions for each family available for consumption.

Process during a Guest OS family retirement

Once the retirement is announced, customers have a 12 month “transition” period before the older family is officially removed from service. This transition time may be extended at the discretion of Microsoft. Updates will be posted on this page.

A gradual retirement process will begin 6 months into the transition period. During this time:

  1. Microsoft will notify customers of the retirement.

  2. The newer version of Cloud Services SDK won’t support the retired Guest OS family.

  3. New deployments of Cloud Services will not be permitted on the retired family

Microsoft will continue to introduce new Guest OS version incorporating the latest MSRC updates until the last day of the transition period, known as the “expiration date”. At that time, the any cloud services still running will be unsupported under the Azure SLA. Microsoft is still determining if those deployments will be force upgraded, deleted or stopped on that date.

Process during a Guest OS Version retirement
If customers set their Guest OS to automatically update, they never have to worry about the options below. They will always be using the latest Guest OS version.

Guest OS Versions are released every month. Because of the rate of regular releases, each version has a fixed lifespan.

At 60 days into the lifespan a version is “disabled”. “Disabled” means that the version is removed from the Azure Management Portal. It also can no longer be set from the CSCFG configuration file. Existing deployments are left running, but new deployments and code and configuration updates to existing deployments will not be allowed.

At a later time, the Guest OS version expires and any installations still running that version are force upgraded and set to automatically update the Guest OS in the future. This period of time is in flux based on the outcome of the results of the Azure Guest OS Survey

These periods may be made longer at Microsoft's discretion to ease customer transitions. Any changes will be communicated on this page.

Notifications during retirement

  • Family retirement - Microsoft will use blog posts and management portal notification. Customers who are still using a retired Guest OS family will be notified through direct communication (email, portal messages, phone call) to assigned service administrators. All changes will be posted to this page and the RSS feed listed at the beginning of this page.

  • Version Retirement - All changes will be posted to this page and the RSS feed listed at the beginning of this page, including the release, disabled and expiration dates.

How can I mitigate the impacts of migration?
You should use latest Guest OS family for designing your Cloud Services. Start planning your migration to a newer family early. Set up temporary test deployments to test your Cloud Service running on the new family. Set your Guest OS version to "Automatic" ("*" in the .CSCFG file) so the migration to new Guest OS versions occurs automatically. 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.

What if my web application requires deeper integration with the OS?
If your web application architecture requires deeper dependency on the underlying operating system, use platform supported capabilities such as "Startup Tasks" () or other extensibility mechanisms which may exist in the future. Alternatively, you can also use Azure Virtual Machines (IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service), where you are responsible for maintaining the underlying operating system.

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 on June 2, 2014. Do not create new installations and upgrade older ones using this Guest OS family.

Enhanced security configuration registry settings were included in the Guest OS starting with versions 3.3, 2.15, and 1.23. Review these settings in KB article 2859054.

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

4.6

WA-GUEST-OS-4.6_201403-01

Mar 28 2014

May 28 2014

TBD

4.5

WA-GUEST-OS-4.5_201402-01

Mar 21 2014

May 21 2014

TBD

4.4

WA-GUEST-OS-4.4_201401-01

Feb 8 2014

April 8, 2014

May 14 2014

4.3

WA-GUEST-OS-4.3_201312-01

Jan 6 2014

March 6, 2014

May 14 2014

4.2

WA-GUEST-OS-4.2_201311-01

Dec 12 2013

Feb 12 2014

May 14 2014

4.1

WA-GUEST-OS-4.1_201310-01

Oct 29 2013

N/A

May 14 2014

4.0 rel3

WA-GUEST-OS-4.0_201309-03

Oct 9 2013. Made public Oct 18.

N/A

May 14 2014

FAMILY 3
Windows Server 2012
Supports .NET 4.0, 4.5

3.13

WA-GUEST-OS-3.13_201403-01

Mar 28 2014

May 28 2014

TBD

3.12

WA-GUEST-OS-3.12_201402-01

Mar 21 2014

May 21 2014

TBD

3.11

WA-GUEST-OS-3.11_201401-01

Feb 8 2014

April 8, 2014

May 14 2014

3.10

WA-GUEST-OS-3.10_201312-01

Jan 6 2014

March 6, 2014

May 14 2014

3.9

WA-GUEST-OS-3.9_201311-01

Dec 12 2013

Feb 12 2014

May 14 2014

3.8

WA-GUEST-OS-3.8_201310-01

Oct 29 2013

N/A

May 14 2014

3.7 rel3

WA-GUEST-OS-3.7_201309-03

Oct 9 2013

N/A

May 14 2014

3.7 rel1

WA-GUEST-OS-3.7_201309-01

Sept 23 2013

N/A

May 14 2014

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

2.25

WA-GUEST-OS-2.25_201403-01

Mar 28 2014

May 28 2014

TBD

2.24

WA-GUEST-OS-2.24_201402-01

Mar 21 2014

May 21 2014

TBD

2.23

WA-GUEST-OS-2.23_201401-01

Feb 8 2014

April 8, 2014

May 14 2014

2.22

WA-GUEST-OS-2.22_201312-01

Jan 6 2014

March 6, 2014

May 14 2014

2.21

WA-GUEST-OS-2.21_201311-01

Dec 12, 2013

Feb 12 2014

May 14 2014

2.20

WA-GUEST-OS-2.20_201310-01

Oct 29 2013

N/A

May 14 2014

2.19 rel3

WA-GUEST-OS-2.19_201309-03

Oct 9 2013

N/A

May 14 2014

2.19 rel1

WA-GUEST-OS-2.19_201309-01

Sept 23 2013

N/A

May 14 2014

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

   

June 2 2014

June 2 2014

1.33

WA-GUEST-OS-1.33_201403-01

Mar 28 2014

May 28 2014

TBD

1.32

WA-GUEST-OS-1.32_201402-01

Mar 21 2014

May 21 2014

TBD

1.31

WA-GUEST-OS-1.31_201401-01

Feb 8 2014

April 8 2014

May 14 2014

1.30

WA-GUEST-OS-1.30_201312-01

Jan 6 2014

March 6 2014

May 14 2014

1.29

WA-GUEST-OS-1.29_201311-01

Dec 12 2013

Feb 12 2014

May 14 2014

1.28

WA-GUEST-OS-1.28_201310-01

Oct 29 2013

N/A

May 14 2014

1.27 rel3

WA-GUEST-OS-1.27_201309-03

Oct 9 2013

N/A

May 14 2014

1.27 rel1

WA-GUEST-OS-1.27_201309-01

Sept 23 2013

N/A

May 14 2014

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.

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 following versions have been retired and are no longer supported. These versions were previously known as "deprecated" or "superseded" versions.

Note (3) – These releases shipped with only version 11 of the SQL Native Client libraries. This may cause client applications to throw exceptions when connecting to Azure SQL Database (formerly known as SQL Azure). For more information, see this blog post.

 

Guest OS Configuration String Release Date Retired on

3.6
Note (3)

WA-GUEST-OS-3.6_201308-01

Sept 6 2013

Dec 29 2013

2.18
Note (3)

WA-GUEST-OS-2.18_201308-01

Sept 6 2013

Dec 29 2013

1.26
Note (3)

WA-GUEST-OS-1.26_201308-01

Sept 6 2013

Dec 29 2013

3.5
Note (3)

WA-GUEST-OS-3.5_201307-01

Aug 8 2013

Nov 23 2013

2.17
Note (3)

WA-GUEST-OS-2.17_201307-01

Aug 8 2013

Nov 23 2013

1.25
Note (3)

WA-GUEST-OS-1.25_201307-01

Aug 8 2013

Nov 23 2013

3.4
Note (3)

WA-GUEST-OS-3.4_201306-01

July 16 2013

Nov 6 2013

2.16
Note (3)

WA-GUEST-OS-2.16_201306-01

July 16 2013

Nov 6 2013

1.24
Note (3)

WA-GUEST-OS-1.24_201306-01

July 16 2013

Nov 6 2013

3.3

WA-GUEST-OS-3.3_201305-01

June 11 2013

Oct 6 2013

3.2 rel4

WA-GUEST-OS-3.2_201302-04

May 18 2013

Oct 6 2013. Originally Sept 16 2013

2.15

WA-GUEST-OS-2.15_201305-01

June 11 2013

Oct 6 2013

2.14 rel4

WA-GUEST-OS-2.14_201302-04

May 18 2013

Oct 6 2013. Originally Sept 16 2013.

1.23

WA-GUEST-OS-1.23_201305-01

June 11 2013

Oct 6 2013

1.22 rel4

WA-GUEST-OS-1.22_201302-04

May 18 2013

Oct 6 2013. Originally Sept 16 2013.

3.2 rel3

WA-GUEST-OS-3.2_201302-03

Feb 26 2013

Aug 01 2013

3.2 rel2

WA-GUEST-OS-3.2_201301-02

Jan 30 2013

Aug 01 2013

3.1 rel1

WA-GUEST-OS-3.1_201210-01

Nov 22 2012

Aug 01 2013

2.14 rel3

WA-GUEST-OS-2.14_201302-03

Feb 26 2013

Aug 01 2013

2.14 rel2

WA-GUEST-OS-2.14_201301-02

Jan 30 2013

Aug 01 2013

2.13 rel1

WA-GUEST-OS-2.13_201210-01

Nov 22 2012

Aug 01 2013

1.22 rel3

WA-GUEST-OS-1.22_201302-03

Feb 26 2013

Aug 01 2013

1.22 rel2

WA-GUEST-OS-1.22_201301-02

Jan 30 2013

Aug 01 2013

1.21 rel1

WA-GUEST-OS-1.21_201210-01

Nov 22 2012

Aug 01 2013

1.19 rel2

WA-GUEST-OS-1.19_201204-02

Jul 30 2012

Aug 01 2013

1.19 rel1

WA-GUEST-OS-1.19_201204-01

Jul 27 2012

Aug 01 2013

1.18 rel1

WA-GUEST-OS-1.18_201202-01

Apr 13 2012

Aug 01 2013

1.17 rel3

WA-GUEST-OS-1.17_201112-03

Mar 13 2012

Aug 01 2013

3.0 rel2

Oct 26 2012

Dec 19 2012

2.12 rel2

Sep 20 2012

Dec 19 2012

2.12 rel2

Sep 20 2012

Dec 19 2012

1.22 rel2

Jan 30 2013

Feb 26 2012

1.20 rel2

Sep 20 2012

Dec 19 2012

1.17 rel2

Feb 17 2012

Oct 3 2012

2.9 rel2

Feb 17 2012

Oct 3 2012

1.17 rel1

Feb 7 2012

Oct 3 2012

2.9 rel1

Feb 7 2012

Oct 3 2012

2.8 rel3

Dec 28 2011

Oct 3 2012

1.16 rel3

Dec 28 2011

Oct 3 2012

2.8 rel2

Nov 16 2011

Oct 3 2012

1.16 rel2

Nov 16 2011

Oct 3 2012

2.8 rel1

Oct 28 2011

Oct 3 2012

1.16 rel1

Oct 28 2011

Oct 3 2012

2.7 rel1

Sep 26 2011

Oct 3 2012

1.15 rel1

Sep 26 2011

Oct 3 2012

2.6 rel1

Jul 15 2011

Oct 3 2012

1.14 rel1

Jul 15 2011

Oct 3 2012

2.5 rel1

Jun 3 2011

Oct 3 2012

1.13 rel1

Jun 3 2011

Oct 3 2012

2.4 rel1

May 4 2011

Oct 3 2012

1.12 rel1

May 4 2011

Oct 3 2012

2.3 rel1

Mar 28 2011

Oct 3 2012

1.11 rel1

Mar 28 2011

Oct 3 2012

2.2 rel1

Feb 15 2011

Oct 3 2012

1.10 rel1

Feb 15 2011

Oct 3 2012

2.1 rel1

Dec 13 2010

Oct 3 2012

1.9 rel1

Dec 13 2010

Oct 3 2012

2.0 rel1

Nov 22 2010

Oct 3 2012

1.8 rel1

Nov 7 2010

Oct 3 2012

1.7 rel1

Oct 1 2010

Oct 3 2012

1.6 rel1

Sep 1 2010

Oct 3 2012

1.5 rel1

Jul 20 2010

Oct 3 2012

1.4 rel1

Jun 17 2010

Oct 3 2012

1.3 rel1

Apr 30 2010

Oct 3 2012

1.2 rel1

Apr 5 2010

Oct 3 2012

1.1 rel1

Jan 30 2010

Oct 3 2012

1.0 rel1

Dec 7 2009

Oct 3 2012

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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