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Windows Server 2019 general availability: What to do

News Analysis
Oct 16, 20183 mins
Data CenterServer VirtualizationVirtualization

The latest version of Windows Server has reached general availability, so subscribers who haven’t already given it a test drive should check out new security, redundancy, management and SDN features.

windows server 2019
Credit: Getty Images/Microsoft

Editor’s note: Microsoft has temporarily put its rollout of Windows Server 2019 on hold due to a glitch with Windows 10 that could affect Windows Server 2019. This story provides advice on what do do about Windows Server 2019 deployments once that problem is cleared up.

Microsoft has released Windows Server 2019 to general availability, formally bringing to market the first major release of the Windows Server operating system in three years.

Subscribers have had the chance to explore the new platform for months, but for those who have held off fiddling with Windows Server 2019 until this official release, it is now formally available for download.

Security, resiliency, SDN

Some of the top features of Windows Server 2019 include enterprise-grade support for hyperconverged infrastructure that is bundled in with the server license, a new desktop GUI, the Project Honolulu server-management tool, security improvements, more efficient containers and subsystem for running Linux on the server.

The new release also embraces software-defined networking (SDN) including virtual-network peering and encryption, auditing and IPv6 support. One of the security features makes it simpler to encrypt communications among systems to protect data.

Windows Server 2019 provides resiliency for shielded virtual machines by making it possible to set up primary and secondary host guardian service (HGS) servers so if one fails, the other kicks in. HGS provides attestation and key protection that are needed to run shielded VMs.

Replace beta code now

For those who haven’t prepped for moving to Windows Server 2019, a sensible approach is to start with the most commonly deployed areas: native Windows Server features, data-center-focused components and new Windows Admin Center management tools.

Any organization that has downloaded a preview release should download and replace any beta code, files and installations with the code in the general availability release.

Early adopters of Windows Server 2019 have found the code base to be extremely dependable because of the testing that the semi-annual release cycle has enabled. As a result, hesitancy of organizations to jump into this major update should be lessened and so encourage a more aggressive adoption cycle by enterprises.

The new Windows Server release schedule

General availability of any product release from Microsoft means the beta testing cycle is over, the code has gone through testing and validation and is formally available to organizations to begin production deployment.

However, unlike previous releases of Windows Server where general availability would mean a significant overhaul from the previous version, which would be three to four years old. But starting with Windows Server 2016, Microsoft initiated a cycle of interim releases of the Windows Server code.

That means for the past three years, organizations that elected to be on semi-annual channel distribution plans have received code updates every six months, so many of the “new” features released in Windows Server 2019 have already been trialed.

These semi-annual releases have enabled the vetting of new features and functions so, unlike previous major releases where everything was completely new and untested in diverse environments, a lot of features and functions are on second, third and even fourth updates.

rand morimoto

Rand is a Microsoft MVP and security specialist with expertise in Office 365, Microsoft Azure, Exchange, SharePoint, SQL, Windows Server, Windows Client, System Center, and Lync. Rand has over 50 international bestselling books and speaks at conferences and conventions somewhere in the world every month. Rand is also the owner of the consulting firm Convergent Computing, which was Microsoft's Global Partner of the Year (2014) and an early adopter organization across all of the Microsoft products and services.

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