If you haven’t tried Windows Server 2019, it’s time you do so.
Windows Server 2019 is ideally a Windows Server 2016 improvement that comes with a ton of nifty and useful features.
Microsoft is touting Server 2019 as its Long-Term Service Channel (LTSC), which has a myriad of new features, including releases from the Semi-Annual (SAL) channel.
Generally, there are four main categories of innovative new features:
- Application platform
- Hybrid cloud
- Hyper-converged infrastructure
Let’s talk about the new features, including some general improvements.
1. General improvements
- Desktop experience
Server 2019, as an LTSC release, features a new desktop experience. By design, the Semi-Annual releases have no desktop experience; for example, server 2016 comes only as a Nano server or server core. However, Windows Server 2019 provides users with an option of server core or server with desktop installations.
- Windows admin center
Windows admin center is a ready-to-deploy and browser-based app used for managing servers and clusters. You can install the app for free in Windows Server 2019 and use it to manage your servers and clusters. Windows admin center also works in Windows 10, as well as earlier versions of Windows.
- System insights
System insights is a predictive analytics feature in Windows Server 2019 that analyzes past usage trends and use them as a basis for predicting future consumptions.
The predictive analytics employs modern AI techniques like machine learning to analyze server system data. It uses the data to suggest ways to improve your server and solve issues with server deployment.
2. Application platform enhancements
- Linux containers in Windows—Windows Server 2019 allows you to run Windows and Linux-based containers in one container host; all this is possible with one Docker Daemon. This improvement gives developers flexible choices.
- Support for Kubernetes—Server 2019 features improvements to Kubernetes in Windows. For example, container networking improves the usability of the feature in Windows. Furthermore, the deployed network loads feature uses embedded tooling to protect the network security of Windows and Linux.
- Container improvements—Windows Server 2019 has a new container improvement, which makes it more reliable. These improvements ensure higher integrated identity, better application compatibility, reduced size, and higher performance.
3. Hybrid cloud
Windows Server 2019 has incorporated hybrid capabilities to the Windows admin center.
Microsoft is also making moves to integrate their Azure cloud platform with Server 2019 to enhance the integration of hybrid environments.
The feature on demand (FOD) is a server app compatibility feature for the Server 2019 release.
It enhances the compatibility of the server core installation option by including a set of binaries and components from the Windows Server desktop experience.
FOD does not include the graphical interface of the server, which makes the server core leaner.
The FSO feature is optional in ISO. It can be added to the Windows server core installation by using the Deployment Image Servicing and Management Tool (DISM).
With costly data breaches in interconnected networks, Microsoft is taking no chances at enhancing server security.
Security is essential for the top-notch operations of any system-grade technological company.
With regards to device security, Microsoft is applying a 3-pronged approach of “protect, detect, and respond” to Server 2019.
Here are some of the top security features in Server 2019:
- Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP)
ATP has deep sensors for performing server searches for malicious files. The advanced protection features can expose and suppress malicious files and operations in memory and kernel, which in turn prevents the attack of the two key server components.
- Windows Defender Exploit Guard
Exploit Guard refers to a set of host intrusion prevention capabilities. The four components that comes with Windows Defender Exploit Guard locks down the device from malware attacks, enabling you to balance between server productivity and security.
These four components are:
i. Network Protection—The Network Protection component uses the Windows Defender Smart screen to protect the endpoint from web-based threats. It achieves this by blocking the device interaction with untrusted hosts or IP addresses.
ii. Attack Surface Reduction—It’s a set of controls that prevents malicious files from getting into a machine.
iii. Exploit Protection—Exploit Protection is a feature for assessing machine vulnerabilities. It replaces EMET, allowing you to make configurations that suit your system and applications.
iv. Controlled Folder Access—It’s a feature which protects sensitive data in folders. It blocks ransomware from accessing the protected files by terminating any untrusted processes from reaching the protected folders.
The Windows Defender Control feature is available on Server 2016 and onwards. However, many users complained of challenges in deploying the feature.
Therefore, Windows Server 2019 comes with default CI policies, which allow Microsoft programs and box files to access the CI. The feature also blocks untrusted applications that can bypass CI.
- Linux shielded VMS
Shielded VMS has been a popular feature in Windows Server 2016, but only with Windows as the guest-host system. They protect virtual machines from the users of a host server, including those with local administrator privileges.
Shielded VMS prevent rogue admins or users accessing virtual hard disks and VMS from instant migration or running shutdown and restart commands.
Windows Server 2019 now makes it possible to run VMS with Linux as a guest operating system.
5. Hyper-converged infrastructure
Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) is one of the most popular keywords in the IT sector now. Top tech brands like Hewlett Packard, Dell, and Huawei are increasingly adopting HCI in their products.
Microsoft is taking notice and it’s focusing on software-defined programs to improve its HCI ratings.
Microsoft has improved HCI in its Server 2019. The company has built Azure on a Windows Server, which connects to local storage via Ethernet and software-defined computing with networking.
The use of cheap components is in contrast to Microsoft’s previous policy of using expensive SANs for its data centers.
Microsoft has also been supporting Azure Stack and Windows-Server Defined Solutions (WSSD) for quite a long time.
While the Azure Stack and WSSD were primarily present from Server 2016, the Server 2019 versions come with improvements for enhancing its management and performance.
Windows Server 2019 comes with a myriad of new features, with some of them set to be released during Semi-Annual releases.
These improvements will boost manageability and reliability of its services.
You need to make the shift to Windows Server 2019 today!
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