It has been just a few issues when we described the Technical Preview release of Windows Server 2016, and here we are talking about Microsoft’s next server operating system.
Windows Server 2019 maintains the solid basis of the previous release, which is Microsoft’s server OS whose diffusion has been the fastest, whose release is expected in the second semester of this year. It will be an LTSC edition (Long Term Servicing Channel), so the distribution channel will have a release update every 2/3 years, unlike the typical SAC model (ie Windows 10).
The key points of the development are four, and they come from the analysis of future trends and requests received by Microsoft from clients’ feedback channels: security, hybrid Cloud, application platforms and hyper-convergent environments.
Microsoft naturally worked a lot on the first of these aspects in order to offer a system that can face and resist to the ever growing number of threats. The security approach is based on three specific macro-areas: Protection, Identification and Response. In terms of protection, now Linux VMs can leverage Shielded VMs (introduced in Windows Server 2016), thus being protected against illicit and undesired activities. Add to that the introduction of Encrypted Networks, which will allow sysadmins to encrypt data traffic on whole network segments thus protecting the communication between nodes.
The new release will include Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP, you can find a trial here), regarding threats identification and response. ATP will allow sysadmins to apply preventive protections and to identify attacks and vulnerabilities, also giving the chance to access in depth the OS. On a practical standpoint, ATP will offer a dedicated panel to manage its features.
Hybrid Cloud environments are now a widespread and consolidated matter of fact, and the combination of on- and off-premises resources is the winning solution for most companies. WS2019 introduces Project Honolulu (we talked about it here), a centralized-management solution for Microsoft Server and Azure (and related services like Azure Backup, Azure File Sync, etc..) environments.
Development environments are important to Microsoft, so they worked on two actual aspects: Windows Server Containers and Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). Microsoft stated that more than 10 million container images have been downloaded from Docker Hubs since the introduction on WS2016 to now, indicating a great success. One of the goals in this sphere is to further reduce (up to a third of the actual) the size of Server Core containers so to optimize download and deployment times.
On top of that, add the support to Kubernetes (albeit in beta) and several improvements to the support of containerized Linux environments.
Hyper-convergent architectures are another hot topic of the last few years (see stats here) and WS2019 follows the trend too. Microsoft is working with the main vendors to develop a system that can be scalable, reliable and offer high performances, and Project Honolulu contributes to these goals adding a global management environment.
You can find the ISO by subscribing to the Insider channel and try the new operating system. Installation is Microsoft’s classic one, and, once the deployment is done, a “Windows 10 friendly” environment will meet us, reminding of a complete desktop system. Which is quite pleasant, and it greets the user well, in particular novices.