4 min read

Today, Microsoft unveiled new features of Windows Server 2019. The new features are based on four themes—hybrid, security, application platform, and Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI).

General changes

Windows Server 2019, being a Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) release, includes Desktop Experience. During setup, there are two options to choose from: Server Core installations or Server with Desktop Experience installations. A new feature called System Insights brings local predictive analytics capabilities to Windows Server 2019. This feature is powered by machine learning and aimed to help users reduce operational expenses associated with managing issues in Windows Server deployments.

Hybrid cloud in Windows Server 2019

Another feature called the Server Core App Compatibility feature on demand (FOD) greatly improves the app compatibility in the Windows Server Core installation option. It does so by including a subset of binaries and components from Windows Server with the Desktop Experience included. This is done without adding the Windows Server Desktop Experience graphical environment itself. The purpose is to increase the functionality of Windows server while keeping a small footprint. This feature is optional and is available as a separate ISO to be added to Windows Server Core installation.

New measures for security

There are new changes made to add a new protection protocol, changes in virtual machines, networking, and web.

Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP)

Now, there is a Windows Defender program called Advanced Threat Protection (ATP). ATP has deep platform sensors and response actions to expose memory and kernel level attacks. ATP can respond via suppressing malicious files and also terminating malicious processes.

There is a new set of host-intrusion prevention capabilities called the Windows Defender ATP Exploit Guard. The components of ATP Exploit Guard are designed to lock down and protect a machine against a wide variety of attacks and also block behaviors common in malware attacks.

Software Defined Networking (SDN)

SDN delivers many security features which increase customer confidence in running workloads, be it on-premises or as a cloud service provider. These enhancements are integrated into the comprehensive SDN platform which was first introduced in Windows Server 2016.

Improvements to shielded virtual machines

Now, users can run shielded virtual machines on machines which are intermittently connected to the Host Guardian Service. This leverages the fallback HGS and offline mode features. There are troubleshooting improvements to shield virtual machines by enabling support for VMConnect Enhanced Session Mode and PowerShell Direct. Windows Server 2019 now supports Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server inside shielded virtual machines.

Changes for faster and safer web

Connections are coalesced to deliver uninterrupted and encrypted browsing. For automatic connection failure mitigation and ease of deployment, HTTP/2’s server-side cipher suite negotiation is upgraded.

Storage

Three storage changes are made in Windows Server 2019.

Storage Migration Service

It is a new technology that simplifies migrating servers to a newer Windows Server version. It has a graphical tool that lists data on servers and transfers the data and configuration to newer servers. Their users can optionally move the identities of the old servers to the new ones so that apps and users don’t have to make changes.

Storage Spaces Direct

There are new features in Storage Spaces Direct:

  • Deduplication and compression capabilities for ReFS volumes
  • Persistent memory has native support
  • Nested resiliency for 2 node hyper-converged infrastructure at the edge
  • Two-server clusters which use a USB flash drive as a witness
  • Support for Windows Admin Center
  • Display of performance history
  • Scale up to 4 petabytes per cluster
  • Mirror-accelerated parity is two times faster
  • Drive latency outlier detection
  • Fault tolerance is increased by manually delimiting the allocation of volumes

Storage Replica

Storage Replica is now also available in Windows Server 2019 standard edition. A new feature called test failover allows mounting of destination storage to validate replication or backup data. Performance improvements are made and Windows Admin Center support is added.

Failover clustering

New features in failover clustering include:

  • Addition of cluster sets and Azure-aware clusters
  • Cross-domain cluster migration
  • USB witness
  • Cluster infrastructure improvements
  • Cluster Aware Updating supports Storage Spaces Direct
  • File share witness enhancements
  • Cluster hardening
  • Failover Cluster no longer uses NTLM authentication

Application platform changes in Windows Server 2019

Users can now run Windows and Linux-based containers on the same container host by using the same docker daemon. Changes are being continually done to improve support for Kubernetes. A number of improvements are made to containers such as changes to identity, compatibility, reduced size, and higher performance.

Now, virtual network encryption allows virtual network traffic encryption between virtual machines that communicate within subnets and are marked as Encryption Enabled.

There are also some improvements to network performance for virtual workloads, time service, SDN gateways, new deployment UI, and persistent memory support for Hyper-V VMs.

For more details, visit the Microsoft website.

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