The days of the simplistic, one dimensional OS are over. Industry requirements for more flexible processing of data and increased security postures have mandated an entirely new breed of operating system.
The advent of secure hybrid systems and virtual network fabrics have made these advances possible.
Windows Server 2016 moved forward on the hybrid front by Integrating Microsoft Azure services into its on premises Active Directory environment. Server 2019 builds on these advancements to provide additional flexibility and security.
4 Major Improvements of Windows Server 2019
Let’s take a look at the four major improvements that Server 2019 provides.
- Better Security: Server 2019 builds on the foundation laid by Server 2016 in terms of security. New features include a new set of host-intrusion prevention capabilities with Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection. Windows Defender ATP better protects against memory and kernel level attacks by identifying and terminating malicious processes. Windows Defender ATP Exploit Guard provides attack surface reduction, custom queries and detection rules and can continuously monitor your systems against attacks.
- Easier Hybrid Integration: Server 2019 Admin Center makes it easier than ever to integrate your Azure services with your on-premises network environment. Features such as Azure Backup and Azure Site Recovery can automate the replication of Azure VM’s between on-premises VM’s and VM’s hosted in the Azure cloud, saving time and providing redundancy for your important data.
- Application Platform Improvements: Containerization, which virtualizes at the OS level have been around now for a few years in the Linux environment with Docker technology and were recently introduced in the Windows environment with the release of Server 2016. Server 2019 features improvements such as the ability to include Linux containers on Windows with the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). In addition, the ability to create even smaller container images make application development even more flexible.
- Hyper-Converged Infrastructure: HCI creates a software defined IT Infrastructure that virtualizes conventional hardware-based systems using a Hypervisor and a virtualized SAN, thus creating software-defined storage. This reduces the need for organizations to rely on different storage and compute systems. This is accomplished by consolidating storage, networking and compute functions onto a single node and thus reduces infrastructure costs while maintaining performance, reliability and scalability.
Best New Features of Windows Server 2019
To make hybrid integration more secure and easier to administer, Microsoft has introduced some new features in Server 2019.
- The new Windows Admin Center makes it possible to better manage Azure services from your on-premises environment. You can now deploy and manage Azure resources automatically from a central interface.
- In Server 2019, you will be able to protect your servers from accidental data deletion and attacks with the use of the Azure Backup System.
- Azure Update Management provides seamless system updates across all servers in your environment.
- In the past, migration of legacy servers required reconfiguration of the applications that were migrated. This is no longer necessary in Server 2019. The Storage Migration Service can accomplish this task, not only faster, but also more accurately. The Windows Admin Center provides a graphical workflow to make the migration process easier than ever before. This is a three-step process: first your legacy servers are inventoried, then the data is transferred to Server 2019 and finally the legacy server’s networking settings and identity are conveyed to the new server for a seamless migration that is transparent to the applications and the end user.
- Azure File Sync allows for better performance, flexibility and compatibility with your on-premises file servers. AFS has the ability to use multiple protocols, such as SMB, NFS and FTPS to access files locally with a hot cache, while having the ability to leverage a much larger storage capability in the Azure Cloud. The Storage Replica feature introduced in Server 2016 has been improved to allow small and medium size businesses to provide a cost-effective disaster protection service with an included Standard Windows 2019 edition VM hosted in Azure. This will allow failover to the Azure VM. This eliminated the need for organizations to maintain multiple disaster recovery locations.
Review of Windows Server 2019 Advances
Let’s review the four Server 2019 investment areas.
- Security is first. The new Windows Defender ATP feature, along with better protection for multi-tenant Azure environments, will certainly help. As we all know, as far as security is concerned, the defense in depth approach is always best and there is no single answer to all security threats. Server 2019 also includes Windows Defender Application Control (WDAC). WDAC allows for the creation of security policies that block anything from running, unless it is designated on a whitelist. Human beings continue to be the single weakest link in the security chain and that will not change. Through the use of security measures such as Shielded Virtual Machines and the use of these new generation operating systems, we can feel a little more comfortable for now.
- Software Defined Networking in Server 2019 enhances the Hybrid capabilities by providing better performance and flexibility, all from a single node. Azure Site Recovery allows for connection and automatic replication of on-site and Azure based VM’s. This redundancy provides for increased security and productivity.
- Server 2019 includes new enhancements to the Container feature, which was first introduced in Server 2012. Improvements include smaller container size and the ability to integrate Linux containers with the Windows Subsystem for Linux, which will make application development more efficient.
- Finally, the new Hyper-Converged Infrastructure can deliver predictable performance capabilities on a scalable and flexible platform using an efficient architecture that will make deployment and management of systems easier and more efficient, thus reducing the Total Cost of Ownership of computer systems and networks.
Windows Server 2019 has many new enhancements that can make your IT life easier and more secure.
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Blog Post Author: Jay Cotrone
Jay Cotrone has been providing IT Training for nearly 20 years. He is a Microsoft Certified Trainer for Windows Server and Windows. He is also certified in CompTIA Security+ and Network+.