Plan for Office 365 Pro plus apps updates
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1h 10m

This Planning Office 365 Workloads and Applications course will teach you how to plan for Office 365 workload deployments and hybrid solutions. You will learn how to identify hybrid requirements for Exchange and SharePoint hybrid solutions, and how to plan connectivity and data flow for Office 365 services, including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Teams. You’ll learn how to plan migration strategies for Exchange, SharePoint, and Teams, and how to determine the best strategies.

Later in the course, you will learn how to plan Office 365 application deployments and how to plan application updates. You’ll also learn about the different update channels and when to use each.

Learning Objectives

  • How to plan for Office 365 workload deployments
  • How to plan for migrations and hybrid solutions
  • How to plan for Office 365 application deployments

Intended Audience

  • IT professionals who are interested in obtaining an Microsoft 365 certification
  • Those tasked with planning Office 365 deployments and migrations


  • A decent understanding of Office 365 workloads, including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Teams

When you deploy Office 365 ProPlus, you get access to regular, monthly updates of the software. These monthly updates will often add new features to the Office 365 ProPlus software. 

Now, while that may sound all well and good, some admins prefer to have more control over how often users receive these updates and new features. Understanding this, Microsoft provides three different update channels that can be used to control how Office 365 ProPlus is updated. These channels include the Monthly channel, the Semi-Annual channel, and the Targeted Semi-Annual channel. 

The Monthly channel provides users with the newest features of Office as soon as they become available. Updates for the Monthly channel occur monthly. 

Updates in the Semi-Annual channel happen every six months, in January and July. 

The Targeted Semi-Annual channel provides pilot users and application compatibility testers the opportunity to test the next Semi-Annual channel. Updates for the Targeted Semi-Annual channel occur every six months, in March and September. 

The Monthly update channel is the default update channel for the Visio Online Plan 2, Project Online Desktop Client, and Office 365 Business. The Semi-Annual channel is the default schedule for Office 365 ProPlus. 

The Monthly channel is a good choice when you need to provide your end users with the latest Office features as soon as those features become available. Although, if you have lots of add-ins, macros and such that need to be tested before upgrading, this option would not be a good option for you. New features are offered via the Monthly channel on a regular basis, but, with that said, there's no set schedule for when those feature releases happen. Monthly channel releases may also include non-security updates that are intended to improve stability or performance of Office applications. 

Security updates for Monthly channel are typically made available on the second Tuesday of the month. Critical non-security issues are typically addressed via a separate Monthly channel release. It's important to note that the Monthly channel releases are cumulative, which means that the most recent release will contain all the features and updates from the previous Monthly channel releases. It's also important to understand that any given monthly channel release will only be supported until the next Monthly channel release is available. 

The Targeted Monthly channel provides an early look at whatever's included in the next upcoming Monthly channel release. 

The Semi-Annual channel is a good option for organizations that prefer not to deploy the latest features of Office right away. It's also a good option if you have a large number of add-ins or macros that you need to test first. 

Be aware that the default update channel for Office 365 ProPlus is the Semi-Annual channel; I mentioned this earlier. 

The Semi-Annual channel includes features that have been previously released through the Monthly channel. 

Now, while the normal January and July releases of the Semi-Annual channel offer the typical updates to Office ProPlus, additional security updates are added to the Semi-Annual channel on the second Tuesday of the month. The Targeted Semi-Annual channel is intended to help organizations prepare for the upcoming Semi-Annual channel release. It provides pilot users with application compatibility testers a roughly four-month window to test the upcoming Semi-Annual channel release. Features that are included in the Targeted Semi-Annual channel are the same features that have been released previously in the Monthly channel. In March and September, the feature releases for the Targeted Semi-Annual channel will also include security and non-security updates that have been released previously in the Monthly channel. Additional security and non-security releases are released via the Targeted Semi-Annual channel on the second Tuesday of the month. 

The visual that you see on your screen depicts the relationship between the different update channels.

About the Author
Learning Paths

Tom is a 25+ year veteran of the IT industry, having worked in environments as large as 40k seats and as small as 50 seats. Throughout the course of a long an interesting career, he has built an in-depth skillset that spans numerous IT disciplines. Tom has designed and architected small, large, and global IT solutions.

In addition to the Cloud Platform and Infrastructure MCSE certification, Tom also carries several other Microsoft certifications. His ability to see things from a strategic perspective allows Tom to architect solutions that closely align with business needs.

In his spare time, Tom enjoys camping, fishing, and playing poker.