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The First System Center Semi-Annual Channel (SAC), Version 1801 Release

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You might have heard that Microsoft is switching to Semi-Annual Channel (SAC) model for Windows Server and System Center. You can read all about it here. In short, this means that every 6 months, Microsoft will release a new version with additional features for System Center and Windows Server. You will be able to update your system if you have eligible Software Assurance. These updates will fix issues, but also include new features. But before Microsoft releases the final SAC version, they will publish first a preview version for that specific update.

The First System Center Semi-Annual Channel (SAC), Version 1801 Release 1

In November 2017, Microsoft released the first SAC preview version for System Center 1711 (17=Year 2017 and 11=November), and the first production SAC for System Center is just released, version 1801 (18=Year 2018 and 01=January). But we are already in February 2018 and not in January. Yes, it’s true, Microsoft slipped in this release. Hope the next SAC release will be on time by June 2018.

What’s new in this release?

System Center, version 1801 focuses on enhancements and features for System Center Operations Manager, Virtual Machine Manager, and Data Protection Manager. Additionally, security and bug fixes, as well as support for TLS 1.2, are available for all System Center components including Orchestrator, Service Management Automation, and Service Manager.

These are the capabilities included in this release:

How to Get System Center?

You can try System Center, version 1801 today at the Evaluation Center or the Volume Licensing Service Center.

The fastest way is to download the Evaluation VHDs using the following PowerShell script, and you are good to go:

# Download all System Center First SAC Release Version 1801 VHD Evaluation
# Updated by Charbel Nemnom
# Credit to Niklas Akerlund
# Name: Install-SC1801VHDEVAL.ps1

param (
 [Parameter(Position=0, HelpMessage = 'Destination Volume')]

 [Parameter(Position=1, HelpMessage = 'Directory Name')]

Try {
 $Vol =  ($Volume -replace (":|\\",''))
 $CheckVolume = Get-PSDrive -Name $Vol -ErrorAction Stop
 Catch {
 Write-Warning -Message "No drive found for: `"$Vol`", Please specify a correct volume"

Write-Verbose "You selected: $($CheckVolume.Root)"
Write-Verbose "Creating new directory..."
$Destination = New-Item -Name $DirectoryName -Path $(($Vol)+":") -ItemType Directory -Force

# Variables
$SizeOfSCVHD = 50GB

# Get Space on volume
$SpaceRemaining = ((Get-Volume $CheckVolume.Root.Split(":")[0]).SizeRemaining)

if($SpaceRemaining -gt $SizeOfSCVHD){
# System Center Virtual Machine Manager 1801
((Invoke-WebRequest -Uri "").links | ? href -match "exe$|docx$|bin$").href | %{Start-BitsTransfer -Source $_ -Destination $Destination}
# System Center Operations Manager 1801
((Invoke-WebRequest -Uri "").links | ? href -match "exe$|docx$|bin$").href | %{Start-BitsTransfer -Source $_ -Destination $Destination}
# System Center Orchestrator 1801
((Invoke-WebRequest -Uri "").links | ? href -match "exe$|docx$|bin$").href | %{Start-BitsTransfer -Source $_ -Destination $Destination}
# System Center Data Protection Manager 1801
((Invoke-WebRequest -Uri "").links | ? href -match "exe$|docx$|bin$").href | %{Start-BitsTransfer -Source $_ -Destination $Destination}
# System Center Service Manager 1801
((Invoke-WebRequest -Uri "").links | ? href -match "exe$|docx$|bin$").href | %{Start-BitsTransfer -Source $_ -Destination $Destination}

} else {
$SpaceRemaining = [math]::Round($SpaceRemaining/1GB)
Write-Output "The remaining size on $Destination is $SpaceRemaining GB, please free up at least $($SizeOfSCVHD/1GB) GB and try again!"

Please make sure you have enough bandwidth and space before you kick off the script!

The First System Center Semi-Annual Channel (SAC), Version 1801 Release 2

Supported Operating System: Windows Server 2016 or later.

Windows Server 2012 R2 with Hyper-V or later is required to use those VHDs and create virtual machines.


As a System Center customer, you can stay on the Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) or move to the new Semi-Annual Channel. Choose a release channel that works best for your business. If your requirements change, switch to a different release channel.

System Center customers have their choice of two release options: the Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) or the new Semi-Annual Channel(SAC). The new Semi-Annual Channel is only offered for customers with Software Assurance.

As always – submit and/or vote for feature requests, fixes, enhancements at the UserVoice channels here:

Happy Evaluating!


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About the Author
Charbel Nemnom
Charbel Nemnom is a Senior Cloud Architect with 21+ years of IT experience. As a Swiss Certified Information Security Manager (ISM), CCSP, CISM, Microsoft MVP, and MCT, he excels in optimizing mission-critical enterprise systems. His extensive practical knowledge spans complex system design, network architecture, business continuity, and cloud security, establishing him as an authoritative and trustworthy expert in the field. Charbel frequently writes about Cloud, Cybersecurity, and IT Certifications.

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