Microsoft has announced that Windows Server 2019 is now available in preview, with general availability expected in the back half of the year (despite the name, Windows Server 2019 is launching in 2018). This version of Windows will also receive an LTSC (Long Term Service Channel) release, which means it’ll receive security updates for the next decade.
Microsoft is focusing on four broad features with this update: improved hybrid cloud support, increased security, application platform improvements, and what Microsoft calls “hyper-converged infrastructure.”
Hybrid cloud support is exactly what it sounds like — support for workloads that leverage both local resources and edge computing for artificial intelligence or integration with the Internet of Things. Windows Server 2019 also includes support for Project Honolulu, a new web-based management interface for Windows Server that replaces the older MMC-based management software MS debuted all the way back in 2000.
Security improvements include support for Shielded VMs (virtual machines protected from compromised or malicious administrators within the fabric) when running Linux, new support for encrypted networks, better troubleshooting support, and embedded Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection.
New Application Platform enhancements include a sharp drop in Server Core container size (from 5GB to ~1.5GB), beta support and improvements for Kubernetes clusters, and unspecified improvements to Windows Subsystem on Linux that will help Linux users run existing Linux scripts using industry standards like OpenSSH, Curl, and Tar.
Hyper-converged infrastructure — an IT framework that combines storage, compute capability, and network support into a single system to reduce complexity and improve management — will be managed using Project Honolulu as well.
Pricing, meanwhile, is set to increase, though MS has not given details on this. The FAQ for Server 2019 states: “It is highly likely we will increase pricing for Windows Server Client Access Licensing (CAL),” but does not give an amount. Analyst Wes Miller, a VP with the firm Directions on Microsoft, believes the price bump is intended to nudge Windows Server customers towards relying more on Microsoft’s cloud platform, Azure.
“I think that — for organizations invested in Windows Server — this will just be another increase that most will absorb,” Miller told El Reg. “I expect that we may see some messaging from Microsoft emphasizing that moving workloads to Azure is one way to avoid this cost, since there is no concept of a Windows Server base CAL in Azure.”
That would fit with Microsoft’s other shifts, which have generally moved towards the concept of Windows and Office as a service (delivered by subscription, in Office’s case) rather than as standalone product.
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