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Introducing Windows Server 2019 Preview

Microsoft has released the Windows Server 2019 Preview build 17623 and it will generally be available in second half of 2018. At this point you can access the Preview build 17623 from Windows Insider program. Previously, I wrote an article about the Windows Server 2016 at the first release and you can read it here.

Windows Server 2019 Preview build on top of the strong foundation of the Windows Server 2016, according to Microsoft Windows Server 2016 is the fastest customer adapted Server version and they believe Server 2019 will keep same momentum after the release. It also supports the inplace upgrade of Windows Server 2012 R2 and 2016.

Suits for Hybrid Cloud Scenarios in the Customer Environment

One of the main purpose of this release is to support to the Hybrid Cloud migration of the customer workloads, these days customers are extending Active Directory integration to the cloud, synchronizing file servers, and backup in the cloud and this release will perfectly suits for the Hybrid Cloud environment.

Also, one of the other important thing is to work with the Project Honolulu which was released in the Microsoft Ignite 2017. Microsoft believes that Windows Server 2019 and Project Honolulu will help customers to easily integrate Microsoft Azure Services such as Azure Backup, Azure File Sync and disaster recovery to their customers.

Security Concerns

Microsoft has made improved security features to this release in three fold approach – Protect, Detect and Respond. Windows Server 2019 Preview comes with major improvements in these three areas.

Shielded Virtual Machines

Microsoft has introduced Shield Virtual Machines with this release, which means 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. Linux Virtual Machines will support as a Shielded Virtual Machine with this release of Windows Server 2019 Preview and Microsoft is extending the VMConnect to improve the troubleshooting capabilities.

Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection

Added the memory and kernel level attacker activities and abilities to take actions on compromised machines in response to incidents such as remote collection of additional forensic data, remediating malicious files, terminating malicious processes etc.

For customers who are already using Windows Defender ATP just installing the latest Server preview would enable these features.

Otherwise Sign Up to Windows ATP Trial here !

Windows Defender ATP Exploit Guard

This has the improved host intrusion prevention capabilities, the four components of Windows Defender Exploit Guard are designed to lock down the device against a wide variety of attack vectors and block behaviors commonly used in malware attacks.

Encrypted Network

Encrypted Networks that will let admins encrypt network segments, with a flip of a switch to protect the network layer between servers and networks are simple to configure DTLS-based encryption using the Network Controller to manage the end-to-end encryption and protect data as it travels through the wires and network devices between the hosts It is configured by the Administrator on a per-subnet basis. In this case VM to VM traffic is automatically encrypting as packets leave from the hosts.

Extending Clusters with Cluster Sets

“Cluster Sets” is the new cloud scale-out technology which increase the number of Cluster Nodes in the SDDC (Software Defined Data Center). It groups the Windows failover clusters. These Cluster Sets enable the movement of the Virtual Machines across the Clusters.

No NTLM Authentication for the Failover Clusters

Windows Failover Clusters no longer use NTLM authentication and use Kerberos and Certificate based authentication.

Known Issues:

  • In‑place OS upgrade: Domain Controllers. During an in-place OS upgrade, Active Directory (AD) Domain Controllers (DC) might not be upgraded correctly. So, back up any AD DCs before performing an in-place OS upgrade.
  • Editing or creating policies for AppLocker can cause the MMC snap-in to crash when generated rules for a packaged app.
  • After upgrading the operating system, the AppX database may have corrupted entries, which causes problems for components that use those entries.
  • Testing of the Windows core may fail because of a timeout while attempting to load the test libraries.

Downloading and Installation of Windows Server 2019 Preview

Registered Windows Insider users are able to download the preview version of the Windows Server 2019, Use Windows Server Insider Preview Download page to download the ISO file or the VHDX for the Virtual Machine instance, If you are not registered register as a Insider user and share your feedback for the product improvement.

Windows Server 2019 Insider Download Page

Select the Language and Download your file

Set language and Download

Installation doesn’t have any differences just follow the normal installation procedure

Select Language

It has four selection of the Operating Systems, Windows Server without GUI

Select Operating System

Desktop Experience should be installed if you need the GUI

Select Operating System as GUI

Provide the Password for the Local Administrator Account

Enter Administrator Password

Login Screen is similar to the Windows 10 login screen

Windows Server 2019 Login Screen

This is how Server Manager looks like

Windows Server 2019 Server Manager

GUI and Start Menu is similar to Windows 10

Windows Server 2019 Start Menu

System Configuration boot still shows Windows Server 2016 as I mentioned earlier in this post

Windows Server 2019 System Configuration Shows 2016

Here I have created a small introduction of this release as a video, I hope you’d enjoy this video as well.

That’s it for this post, let’s see how we can install the Project Honolulu on Windows 2019 Preview in a different post.

References: 

FAQs (Microsoft Page):

Q: When will Windows Server 2019 be generally available?

A: Windows Server 2019 will be generally available in the second half of calendar year 2018.

Q: Is Windows Server 2019 a Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) release?

A: Windows Server 2019 will mark the next release in our Long-Term Servicing Channel. LTSC continues to be the recommended version of Windows Server for most of the infrastructure scenarios, including workloads like Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft SharePoint, and Windows Server Software-defined solutions.

Q: What are the installation options available for Windows Server 2019?

A: As an LTSC release Windows Server 2019 provides the Server with Desktop Experience and Server Core installation options – in contrast to the Semi-Annual Channel that provides only the Server Core installation option and Nano Server as a container image. This will ensure application compatibility for existing workloads.

Q: Will there be a Semi-Annual Channel release at the same time as Windows Server 2019?

A: Yes. The Semi-Annual Channel release scheduled to go at the same time as Windows Server 2019 will bring container innovations and will follow the regular support lifecycle for Semi-Annual Channel releases – 18 months.

Q: Does Windows Server 2019 have the same licensing model as Windows Server 2016?

A: Yes. Check more information on how to license Windows Server 2016 today in the Windows Server Pricing page. It is highly likely we will increase pricing for Windows Server Client Access Licensing (CAL). We will provide more details when available.

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Introducing Windows Server 2019 Preview
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Aruna Lakmal

Associate Technical Lead at Pearson, Sri Lanka. Technology junky, enthusiast, a VMware vExpert and a blogger with more than 6 years of Experience in Information Technology more focusing on VMware Virtualization, Microsoft and Datacenter Technologies.

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