HCI, hybrid cloud and security top of the agenda as Microsoft unveils launch of Windows Server 2019

March 2018 sees Microsoft announce its first major upgrade from Windows Server 2016 to the newly unveiled Windows Server 2019.  Launched as part of Microsoft’s revised schedule, the preview of Windows Server 2019 is readily available for those signed up to Microsoft’s Insiders programme with the full version available to the mainstream later this year.

Following the announcement we thought it would be good to take a look into the key features of Windows Server 2019 to see if it really meets the ever increasing needs of the industry.

Erin Chapple (Director of Program Management, Windows Server) states that based on the feedback and demands of Microsoft’s customers four themes of future challenges were recognised.

  • Hybrid
  • Security
  • Application platform
  • Hyper converged infrastructure (HCI)

Windows Server 2019 looks set to bring innovation and improvements across all four of these themes with the key highlights explored below.

Hybrid cloud

Whilst Microsoft recognises that many customers are making a journey toward cloud based servers it acknowledges that it is often a gradual process, one that combines both on-site and cloud based servers together depending on the needs of each business. Hybrid cloud activity enables a much longer term and future proofing approach that has inevitable growing demand across the industry.

With this in mind, Microsoft have utilised Windows Server 2019 to encourage hybrid cloud use even further. By combining with Microsoft’s new management platform, Project Honolulu, users will be able to easily and fully integrate Azure packages including Azure Backup, File Sync and disaster recovery.

Security

Always a priority and with the growing rate of cyber threats, it is reassuring to see security remaining a top priority for Microsoft.

The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) report evidenced that in 2017 we saw consumer related attacks decrease whilst incidents of business cyber attacks significantly increased with almost 22,000 offences reported, with a 145% rise in computer malware and DDoS attacks. 2017 was, as we know, heralded as the year of mega breaches with so many reaching public headlines.

So what will Windows Server 2019 offer to help stem the tide of ever more advancing cyber attacks? Chapple described it as a Protect, Defect and Respond tri fold approach. The Shielded VM’s that were introduced with Windows Server 2016 will be extended to include Linux VM’s as well preventing tampering with virtual machines by anyone bar administrators.

To ensure preventative protection, Windows Server 2019 will also offer Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection automatically embedded in the upgrade. This will detect attacks and guard against threats at OS level.

Application platform

Words we would never would have expected to hear a decade ago feature strongly in this server upgrade with broadening support for Linux on Windows based platforms.

In response to further feedback, developers will be heartened to hear that the containers introduced in Windows Server 2016 will be reduced in image size by as much as a third reducing download time by a considerable 72%. No mean feat but this should really help to optimise both development time and performance. 

Hyper converged infrastructure 

Finally, the last key development is that of improved hyper converged infrastructure (HCI). As one of the latest trends in the industry seeing exponential growth with an anticipated $5bn market net worth by the time Windows Server 2019 is fully available it would seem inevitable that HCI should feature strongly.  

HCI solutions are already available using a combination of Windows Server 2016 and the Windows Server Software Defined programme but Windows Server 2019 will add further improvements by way of scale, reliability and of course performance. Managing your HCI environments will also be made easier through integrated use if Project Honolulu.

Will you want to make the move to Windows Server 2019?

Clearly Microsoft are encouraging the upgrade particularly to those that have data workloads that involves SQL Server, SharePoint and Windows Servers.

However, inevitably Microsoft have also warned that it is ‘highly likely’ that pricing will increase for Windows Server Access Licensing. More details will be available closer to the general sale release and we will be sure to discuss that in more depth too.  

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