Microsoft gives sneak peak of Windows Server 2019

Microsoft recently previewed Windows Server 2019 with general availability slated for the second half of this year. Based on feedback from its customers, Microsoft is focused on four themes with Windows Server 2019, including hybrid, security, application platform and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI).

Windows Server 2019 is based on the foundation laid by Windows Server 2016. The technology marks the next release of the company’s Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC), with 10 years of support and a new version every three years. Microsoft noted that Windows Server 2019 will cost more than Windows Server 2016; although, an exact price was not given.

As part of Windows Server 2019, Microsoft is looking to simplify the management of hybrid computing environments with Project Honolulu, a management platform for Windows and Windows Servers introduced last year. Hybrid cloud environments are harder to manage on account of being more complex, consisting of a mix of on-premises, private cloud and public cloud services. According to Microsoft, the combination of Windows Server 2019 and Project Honolulu will allow customers to integrate Azure services like Azure Backup, Azure File Sync and disaster recovery easily, without disrupting applications and infrastructure.

Microsoft added that its approach to security with Windows Server 2019 is three-fold: protect, detect and respond. With respect to protection, the company said that Shielded virtual machines, which were included in the previous version of Windows Server to protect virtual machines from unauthorized access, will now support Linux virtual machines. Touching on detection and response, Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) is included in Windows Server 2019 to detect and prevent attacks and zero-day exploits into the operating system.

Commenting on the application platform, the company said that it is reducing Server Core container image sizes to improve performance. “In Windows Server 2019, our goal is to reduce the Server Core base container image to a third of its current size of 5 GB,” wrote Erin Chapple, director of program management for Windows Server at Microsoft, in a company blog post. “This will reduce download time of the image by 72%, further optimizing the development time and performance.” Chapple added that Kubernetes support is currently in beta and in Windows Server 2019. The company is providing improvements to compute, storage and networking components of a Kubernetes cluster as well.

With Windows Server 2019, Microsoft has also been working with vendors to provide a HCI with validated design. A HCI refers to software-centric architecture, which integrates compute, storage and virtualization resources in a single system, typically consisting of x86 hardware. Microsoft thew its hat into the HCI ring with the launch of its Windows Server Software-Defined program last year, providing certification for storage and hyper-converged systems running Windows Server 2016. In Windows Server 2019, Microsoft intends to make it easier to manage HCI environments through Project Honolulu’s HCI management dashboard.

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