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Microsoft Releases First Preview Build of Windows Server 2019

Windows Server 2019 preview - Hero

The first ever preview build of the upcoming Windows Server 2019, reached the Insiders to test and will become generall available in the second half of 2018.

Microsoft says, the next major release of its on-premises client for Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) customers is evolving on four themes Hybrid, Security, Application Platform, and Hyper-Converged infrastructure. “We bring numerous innovations on these four themes in Windows Server 2019.”

This is different from the Semi-Annual Channel versions of Server, which coincide with Windows 10 releases. LTSC releases come once every couple of years, and the current version in that branch is Windows Server 2016.

Here is what’s new in Windows Server 2019

Hybrid Cloud

With Windows Server 2019 and Project Honolulu, customers will be able integrate and leverage Azure services, such as “Azure Backup, Azure File Sync, disaster recovery, and more” without disrupting their applications and infrastructure.

In the image below, you can see Project Honolulu’s management dashboard for Azure Backup in Windows Server 2019 Preview:

Project Honolulu management dashboard for Azure Backup in Windows Server 2019 Preview


Microsoft says, they’re bringing security to Windows Server 2019 in three-fold i.e. Protect, Detect and Respond.

On Protect front, “Shielded VMs” in Windows Server 2019 will now support Linux VMs as well. “Shielded VMs protect virtual machines (VM) from compromised or malicious administrators in the fabric so only VM admins can access it on known, healthy, and attested guarded fabric.”

Also, Microsoft will be extending VMConnect to improve troubleshooting of Shielded VMs for Windows Server and Linux with the addition of “Encrypted Networks’ that will let admins encrypt network segments, with a flip of a switch to protect the network layer between servers.

While, on detect and respond front, Microsoft is embedding Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) that offer preventative protection, detects attacks and zero-day exploits among other into the Server operating system.

Below an image of Windows Defender ATP securing a machine running Windows Server 2019 Preview:

Windows Defender ATP securing a machine running Windows Server 2019 Preview

On application platform Microsoft’s focus is to make improvements to Windows Server containers and Windows Subsystem on Linux (WSL) said, it aims to reduce Server Core base container image to a third of current 5GB.

Also, significant improvements to Kubermetes support involving compute, storage, and networking components of a Kubernetes cluster are on the way.

A feedback we constantly hear from developers is the complexity in navigating environments with Linux and Windows deployments. To address that, we previously extended Windows Subsystem on Linux (WSL) into insider builds for Windows Server, so that customers can run Linux containers side-by-side with Windows containers on a Windows Server.

In Windows Server 2019, Microsoft said, they’ll further improve make improvements to Windows Subsystem on Linux (WSL), so Linux users can bring their scripts to Windows while using industry standards like OpenSSH, Curl & Tar.

WSL let customers run Linux containers side-by-side with Windows containers on a Windows Server.

An image of Kubernetes managing a container host running Windows Server 2019 Preview:

Kubernetes managing a container host running Windows Server 2019 Preview

Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) will evolvle further as Microsoft bringing scale, performance, and reliability to this platform in Server 2019 along with ability to manage HCI deployments in Project Honolulu, to simplify management and day-to-day activities on HCI environments.

Figure 4: Project Honolulu’s Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) management dashboard in Windows Server 2019 Preview

Finally, Microsoft also revealed that System Center 2019 is also coming and will support Windows Server 2019.

Sign up for the Insiders program to access Windows Server 2019. To download Windows Server vNext Insider Preview build 17623, you can find it here.

In other Windows news today, Microsoft also has released a new Windows 10 SDK Preview Build 17120 to downloaded from developer section on Windows Insider.

Along side, the company also pushed a new Window 10 Insider Preview Build 17127 (RS4) to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring.

This release contains improvements to Cortana as it brings in a new server-powered “profile page” so users can add and edit favorite places. To get to this page, just head over to Notebook section in Cortana, and click the button to the right of your name.

The places once added will offer you traffic updates for your daily commute, and also let you set reminders when you arrive or leave your places.

Microsoft notes, the feature will soon extend to cover Interests, Family, Accounts and more.

The image below shows Cortana notebook, next to Cortana About Me page:

Cortana Profile Page

Also, Cortana’s new Notebook now loads faster and is available now across all markets and languages where Cortana is supported. And, the default skills, like Weather, Sports, and News now come with a set of tips for questions you can ask Cortana to get you started – either click the suggestion, type it out yourself, or just talk to Cortana and she’ll pull up the information you requested.

Starting today, these changes will be rolling out to all Insiders in supported markets who are on RS4 and RS5 builds.

Update 03/24: A new Insider Preview Build 17128 released to Insiders in the Fast ring introduces Cortana “Show Me”, a step-by-step guide to make changes to the Windows 10 settings.

Once downloaded, the guides can be launched directly from the app homepage, and help change 15 settings initially. You can download the Show Me app from the Windows Store. To get started you can use Alt + Tab to move between Settings and Cortana Show Me.

Here’s the full list of guides:

  • Update Windows
  • Check if an app is installed
  • Uninstall an app
  • Change your desktop background
  • Use Airplane Mode
  • Change your display brightness
  • Add nearby printers or scanners
  • Change your default programs
  • Change your screen resolution
  • Turn off Windows Defender Security Center
  • Run a security scan
  • Change Wi-Fi settings
  • Change your power settings
  • Discover Bluetooth devices
  • Check your version of Windows

Further, improvements and additional offering along with voice support are expected to be coming soon.

Also, since, Microsoft has now begun checking the final code for the final release, starting with this build the “watemark” at the lower right corner will no more appear.

Additionally, Microsoft also has released Build 17127 to Windows Insiders in the Slow ring.

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