This article is contributed. See the original author and article here.

Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise offers three production update channels for you to choose from: Current Channel, Monthly Enterprise Channel and Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel. The channel(s) you choose to support in your environment will determine the update frequency, features, and support duration between versions. There are a number of ways for you to manage these updates, including our latest addition: Servicing Profiles.



Today, we are pleased to announce an update for Microsoft 365 Apps that will improve update manageability in Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager. Up until now the use of Automatic Deployment Rules (ADR) with Microsoft 365 Apps has been a challenge to manage, depending on the update channel(s) you support. Starting in late June, all future updates for Microsoft 365 Apps, including 2019 and 2021 volume license products, will receive an updated naming convention via the Title property. With this change you will be able to utilize the Title property within the search criteria of your ADR definition to easily target the necessary updates for your environment. This improvement should eliminate the need for IT admins to continually update their search criteria with each new release.


 


Overview


The updated Title property in the update catalog for Microsoft 365 Apps will include the following changes:



  1. The release type will be included in the title, enabling you to easily specify which update you want to select without needing to include the specific version.

  2. The Version number and architecture values have traded places.


Adding release type to the Title property should help simplify update management with your ADRs. If we look at the update history for Microsoft 365 Apps, there are three different release types:



  • Feature Update. This is the first release of the most recent fork. Feature updates will include new features, along with security and non-security updates.

  • Quality Update. These are subsequent releases of the most recent fork. Quality updates will include security and non-security updates.

  • Extended Quality Update. These are subsequent releases of the previous fork. Extended quality updates will include security and non-security updates.


A closer look at the upcoming changes


Refer to the following list of updates to illustrate what the upcoming changes look like on release:


Note that this list of updates is for demonstration purposes only and that the announced changes will apply starting in late June.


 


BeforeChannel Name, Release Version, Architecture, Build.Version


Microsoft 365 Apps Update – Current Channel Version 2101 for x64 based Edition (Build 13628.20274)
Microsoft 365 Apps Update – Current Channel Version 2101 for x64 based Edition (Build 13628.20380)
Microsoft 365 Apps Update – Monthly Enterprise Channel Version 2012 for x64 based Edition (Build 13530.20528)
Microsoft 365 Apps Update – Monthly Enterprise Channel Version 2011 for x64 based Edition (Build 13426.20658)
Microsoft 365 Apps Update – Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel Version 2008 for x64 based Edition (Build 13127.21216)
Microsoft 365 Apps Update – Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel Version 2002 for x64 based Edition (Build 12527.21594)
Microsoft 365 Apps Update – Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel Version 1908 for x64 based Edition (Build 11929.21008)


 


After – Channel Name, Release TypeArchitectureRelease Version, Build.Version


Microsoft 365 Apps Update – Current Channel Feature Update for x64 based Edition Version 2101 (Build 13628.20274)
Microsoft 365 Apps Update – Current Channel Quality Update for x64 based Edition Version 2101 (Build 13628.20380)
Microsoft 365 Apps Update – Monthly Enterprise Channel Feature Update for x64 based Edition Version 2012 (Build 13530.20528)
Microsoft 365 Apps Update – Monthly Enterprise Channel Extended Quality Update for x64 based Edition Version 2011 (Build 13426.20658)
Microsoft 365 Apps Update – Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel Feature Update for x64 based Edition Version 2008 (Build 13127.21216)
Microsoft 365 Apps Update – Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel Quality Update for x64 based Edition Version 2002 (Build 12527.21594)
Microsoft 365 Apps Update – Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel Extended Quality Update for x64 based Edition Version 1908 (Build 11929.21008)


 


Updating your Automatic Deployment Rules


With Configuration Manager, one of the best ways to automate update management for Microsoft 365 Apps is through the use of Automatic Deployment Rules (ADR). This feature helps reduce administrative overhead by automatically selecting, downloading and deploying updates based on the criteria you define. If you have implemented Monthly Enterprise Channel or Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel for Microsoft 365 Apps, an ADR can be challenging to manage due to the fact that both channels have a minimum of 2 versions available at any given time.



The following examples will illustrate how to use the updated Title property to simplify your ADR rules.


 


ADR search criteria for Monthly Enterprise Channel


Monthly Enterprise Channel offers 2 releases: current and extended. You can leverage the release type value to select your desired update version. The screenshot below illustrates a set of search criteria that can be used to identify the current updates for Monthly Enterprise Channel by excluding the extended tag. If you require extended updates for this channel use the following value in the Title property: Monthly Enterprise Channel Extended.


 


The results from this search criteria will include the x86 and x64 non-extended updates for Monthly Enterprise Channel.


 


BobClements_1-1621289727078.png


 


ADR search criteria for Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel


Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel offers 4 releases: preview, current, quality, and extended. You can leverage the release type value to select your desired update version. The screenshot below illustrates a set of search criteria that can be used to identify the current updates for Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel by excluding the preview, extended and quality tags.


 


The results from this search criteria will include the x86 and x64 non-extended updates for Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel.


 


BobClements_2-1621289935096.png


 


Note: If you are on the current version of Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel and can maintain feature updates every 6 months, the search criteria outlined above will ensure devices update to the next version automatically without the need to update your ADR.



If you are on a version of Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel and need to remain on that version longer than 6 months, you will need to update your ADR search criteria between the months of January-February and July-August as the targeted version moves from Feature > Quality > Extended.


 


To select an alternate release type for Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel, update the Title property search criteria with a value from the following table:


 






















Release



ADR Search Criteria – Title Property



Preview



Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel (Preview)



Quality



Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel Quality



Extended



Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel Extended



 


Additional Resources


For more information on the different update channels available for Microsoft 365 Apps, refer to the following articles:



Change Log


05.14.2021     Initial Release


 


This blog post is brought to you by Bob Clements, a Senior Customer Engineer and “Office Ranger” at Microsoft. Feel free to share your questions and feedback in the comments below.

Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.

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