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Microsoft Readies Windows Server 2019 for October Launch

At Day 1 of its 2018 Ignite conference on Monday, Microsoft announced that Windows Server 2019 will reach general availability in October.

Specifically, Windows Server 2019 will be available in Standard, Datacenter and Essentials (for small businesses) editions when it reaches the final release stage, according to Erin Chapple, corporate vice president of Windows Server. She added that System Center 2019, Microsoft's suite of management tools used with Windows and Windows Server, will reach general availability "in the first half of calendar-year 2019."

Chapple offered a high-level overview of the capabilities of Windows Server 2019, which "builds on the foundation of Windows Server 2016."

Windows Server 2019 is designed to support "hybrid" computing environments, she noted. Hybrid means that organizations use Windows Server in their datacenters in conjunction with using public cloud services. The hybrid support is enabled by use of the Windows Admin Center, Microsoft's browser-based management portal. Windows Admin Center can tap services such as Azure Backup and Azure File Sync, she noted. Organizations can use Microsoft's Storage Migration Service, which is part of that portal, to move file servers to Azure datacenters.

Windows Server 2019 also includes some security features. A Shielded Virtual Machines capability wards off the copying of virtual machine files. Microsoft has extended this capability to Linux-based virtual machines in Windows Server 2019, as well. Microsoft also has integrated its Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection services with Windows Server 2019.  Microsoft describes Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection as "a unified platform for preventative protection, post-breach detection, automated investigation, and response."

On the application support side, Windows Server 2019 has a slimmed-down Server Core to aid developers that spin up containers. Chapple mentioned the server's support for Linux containers, which can run "side-by-side with Windows containers." The new server works with Microsoft's Service Fabric for developing cloud-native apps. It also supports Kubernetes, Google's container orchestration solution. Microsoft previously indicated that the Kubernetes support would reach the general availability stage with the release of Kubernetes version 1.13.

Hyperconverged infrastructure and software-defined networking, including security support, are other capabilities in Windows Server 2019. These technologies allow "deployments to scale from small 2-node, all the way up to 100s of servers with Cluster Sets technology, making it affordable regardless of the deployment scale," Chapple noted. The Cluster Sets feature is designed to add greater flexibility when using virtual machines in clusters. Microsoft defines Cluster Sets as "a loosely-coupled federated grouping of multiple Failover Clusters: compute, storage or hyper-converged." In addition, Microsoft has a Windows Server Software Defined program for OEM partners, which is designed to validate hardware for hyperconverged and storage scenarios.
 
Another perk in Windows Server 2019 is a new Data Plane Development Kit, which supports developers working with broadcast video applications. Microsoft also made it easier to quickly set up Azure virtual private network (VPN) connections with a point-to-site VPN capability.

Microsoft is promising CPU performance improvements in Windows Server 2019 with its Receive Segment Coalescing in the vSwitch technology, which decreases CPU use while boosting throughput. Also, its Dynamic Virtual Machine Multi-Queue technology is designed to provide automatic tuning for optimizing CPU workloads. Windows Server 2019 also has software-defined networking gateway improvements for IPSec and GRE connections.

Microsoft is promising to deliver improved Web site support for HTTP/2 traffic with Windows Server 2019. The Storage Spaces Direct feature of Windows Server 2019, which allows IT pros to pool storage using disks in a cluster, is expected to quadruple storage capacity to 4PB pools.

Microsoft is also promising improved bandwidth control with its Low Extra Delay Background Transfer (LEDBAT) feature in Windows Server 2019. Microsoft also claims to have added improved the time accuracy within Windows Server 2019 via a new Precision Time Control Protocol.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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