Does this deserve our applause?

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Windows Server 2022 is out. The release of a new version of Windows Server was a pretty big thing. Not as important as the launch of Windows 95, of course, but still quite important to the tech media and the IT community. In other words, people don’t have get up and dance when a new version of Windows Server has arrived. In fact, the last version of Windows Server that really got me excited was Windows Server 2012 and the follow-up version of Windows Server 2012 R2. Since then, not much has happened in the world of Windows Server that interests me personally. Why?

Focus on the cloud

Well, on the one hand, the cloud. When Steve Ballmer left the management of Microsoft in 2014 (I miss you, Steve!) And Satya Nadella took control, the giant Microsoft began to shift from selling software to selling services from the cloud. This shift in focus had an inevitable impact on the direction in which future versions of Windows Server and Windows would move if we are to believe that Microsoft’s Windows 365 Cloud PC will be the next big innovation in customer computing.

Specifically, versions of Windows Server after 2012 R2 have become increasingly suited to the needs of the data centers that form the underlying basis of what we call the cloud. For example, the 2016 version of Windows Server included an installation option called Nano Server which provided a headless instance of Windows Server that you could only manage remotely, making it ideal for large data center deployments. . The 2019 release then dove deeper into the cloud with built-in support for Kubernetes and Linux containers to take advantage of the growing popularity of containerization and the DevOps paradigm. And now we have Windows Server 2022, which we will see in a moment that this direction goes even further.

But are many small businesses still happy to run Windows Server on-premises instead of leaving everything in the cloud? Are there not yet many important Active Directory deployments that can benefit from further improvements and adjustments to the ever-evolving Windows Server platform? Both may be true, but the reality is that Redmond doesn’t seem to have much of an interest in these customers anymore, despite what they say in their posts on Windows Server. The reality for Redmond is that the cloud is the future of everything – it looks like they’ve fully embraced Apple’s walled garden approach. Expect the day to come, perhaps not too far into the future, where Windows Server will only be released to data center customers, or perhaps even evolve into a systemless hypervisor solution. ‘operation like VMware which mainly runs Linux – and probably Microsoft’s own version of Linux.

Those of us who run WServerNews are well aware of this development. This newsletter (we have others too!), Which was launched by Stu Sjouwerman in 1997, was originally called W2Knews and its purpose was described in the first issue like that:

You are reading this because you are running an NT server and probably more than one. In this newsletter we try to give you an overview of the market with a focus on NT, but also to a large extent what is happening in the area of ​​third party tools and applications.

During the first years of its existence, W2Knews mainly focused on the NT / 2000 server platform with included coverage of server applications like Exchange Server and SQL Server as well as frequent dives into Windows clients from the ‘era. And in 2005, the newsletter was renamed WServerNews. Its timeline has gradually expanded to include a greater focus on cybersecurity and coverage of early Microsoft cloud initiatives such as SharePoint Online and Exchange Online. Then, at the end of 2011, the newsletter was acquired by TechGenix, and Ingrid and I became its editor in early 2012. We have now been at the helm of WServerNews for almost a decade, and as our readers may have noticed, our focus is less on the Windows Server platform and more on hot topics. IT professionals – security and privacy being two of the most important topics in terms of frequently discussed topics. It’s no different from how Stu handled the newsletter originally – his mix of topics covered was about as eclectic as what we cover today in WServerNews.

But if most of our newsletter coverage isn’t about Windows Server, why do we still call it WServerNews? Shouldn’t we rename it, maybe call it GenericTechStuff or maybe something more millennial like BlueBubbleBaboon? No, we’ll keep it forever named WServerNews even though we only occasionally devote an issue to the Windows Server platform.

Which brings us back to talking about Windows Server 2022. Is there something new and exciting about this new release when it comes to business?

What’s new in Windows Server 2022

First and perhaps most important for IT people, Microsoft ultimately decided to stop those annoying versions of Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel that unnecessarily consume the time and energy of system administrators and IT departments. Windows Server 2022 will instead follow the release model of previous versions 2016 and 2019: the long-term maintenance channel releases with five years of standard support and five years of extended support. This change also means that there is no longer a confusing version name like Windows Server version 2004 (um, was that the successor to Windows Server 2003?) Or Windows Server version 20H2 (is that hex or just a mistake Anyway, kudos to Microsoft for making this change, and also for releasing Windows 11 soon and dropping silly labeling of biannual versions of Windows 10.

Windows Server 2022

Microsoft

Second, Windows Server 2022 running on selected OEM hardware can provide enhanced security under a generic concept called “secure core server”, which could better protect your sensitive business data through a combination of hardware, firmware, and drivers. . There is a brief overview of secure core computing in this ITOps Talk blog post but we’ll probably hear more about it in the next Windows Server Summit on September 16, where Microsoft will provide us with its coverage of the new features and capabilities of Windows Server 2022. While this is likely more simply marketing than innovation, any enhancement in platform security is always appreciated.

Third (and it’s no surprise), this new version of Windows Server will be integrated into the Microsoft cloud more than ever. The built-in hybrid Azure capabilities of the new platform will make it easier than ever for businesses to scale their data centers to Azure – if that’s something they want to do, of course. New Azure Edition, an offshoot of Windows Server 2022 Datacenter Edition, supports hot patch, which, if functioning as expected, will provide great benefits for the maintenance of virtualized Windows Server workloads running in the Azure IaaS cloud. Kudos to Microsoft for that, too, as patches have been one of the biggest issues for the companies I’ve spoken to.

Fourth, Microsoft has made a number of container support improvements in Windows Server 2022. I must admit that while these improvements are to be applauded, they may not generate as much interest in the Kubernetes-obsessed DevOps world, simply because the Linux platform still reigns supreme in this part of the world. the devosphere. And another benefit of upgrading to Windows Server 2022 will be 5 + 5 years support for all container images.

Fifth, businesses that use Windows Server Failover Clustering to ensure high availability for their critical workloads will be happy to several improvements Microsoft made this functionality in Windows Server 2022. Two of these automatic sites and cluster affinity improvements have been carried over from Azure Stack HCI version 20H2. But the most important in my opinion is the creation of an additional key protector for the clusters when BitLocker Drive Encryption is used. This will allow cluster volumes to be mounted even when a domain controller is not available, ensuring continued availability in the event of a problem.

Sixth, for those deploying web services on the Windows Server platform, there is the interesting development from Microsoft adding native support for hosting. HTTP / 3 services on Windows Server 2022. HTTP / 3 is based on a transport layer protocol called QUIC developed by Google to make establishing secure sessions faster and more efficient. While this can be useful for businesses hosting streaming services, online games, or VoIP services, I’m not sure if there are many businesses currently on Windows Server that are likely to use this enhancement a lot.

Windows 2022 server storage

Microsoft

And seventh, there are many improvements, big and small, to storage services in Windows Server 2022, and you can read more about some of them. here and here. Enough said, for now.

In addition to the notable improvements above and meager documentation currently online for Windows Server 2022, we’ll have to wait and see what will be announced at the upcoming Windows Server Summit later this month. In the meantime, you can try Windows Server 2022 by download eval version in ISO or VHD format or by try it for free in Azure. (It’s a free trial, but you’ll need to provide a credit card.)

What to get excited about? May be

So, am I excited about Windows Server 2022? Well, yes – a little. But we’ll see how things evolve once we have had the time to play with it. Stay tuned for more.

This article is an extended version of a story that previously appeared in WServerNews.

Featured Image: Shutterstock


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