Earlier this month Microsoft made Windows Server 2019 generally available to download for returning customers and any new organizations looking for a new operating system.
This upgraded operating system, arriving nearly a year after Windows Server 2012 reached its end of life, promises to bridge on-premises environments with Microsoft Azure, adding an extra layer of security and enabling organizations the chance to experiment with their core infrastructure through hybrid scenarios.
However, just a few weeks later, Microsoft delayed the full Windows Server 2019 launch. While the hiccup doesn’t seem catastrophic, it may be enough to beg the question of whether or not Windows Server 2019 is worth waiting a little longer for.
In this article we’ll take a closer look at why Microsoft is delaying the full Windows Server 2019 launch and some of the key performance and security features the new operating system has to offer.
Windows 10 Glitch
Though you may have missed it due to the Supermicro hack news earlier this month, Microsoft issued the following address on an updated blog that originally announced the general availability of the new Windows Server:
“We have temporarily removed all media for Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server, version 1809. We have also paused the rollout of the latest feature update to Windows 10 inclusive of versions 1809, as we are investigating isolated reports of users missing some files after updating. If you have already downloaded media, please don’t install it and wait until more information is available to proceed.”
Now, the good news is that there are no issues directly tied to Windows Server 2019. The actual problem lies in a glitch in Windows 10. However, Microsoft has still taken the precautionary route of making the new server unavailable to download since it shares a code base with Windows 10.
It seems that the number of users experiencing missing data following the Windows Update is relatively low. But it’s understandable why Microsoft would want to take extreme care in ensuring user data will remain safe.
It’s also important to mention that Microsoft went straight to general availability with Windows Server 2019, skipping their usual “release to manufacturing” route. It was the first time in Windows Server history.
In another blog, Microsoft said the “change was motivated by the increasing popularity of virtual machines, containers, and deploying in the cloud. But it also means the hardware ecosystem hasn’t had the chance to validate and certify systems or components before the release…”
Microsoft officials also announced that certified servers pre-loaded with the new operating system most likely won’t be available until mid-January. But that hasn’t affected any of the performance features previously announced.
In the mean time, until more tests, verifications, and updates are conducted so that Windows Server 2019 can see a real release, let’s take a look at some of the operating system’s key features.
And if you plan on waiting to upgrade with the new physical servers, be sure to also have a plan in place for getting rid of your old equipment.
The Desktop Experience is making its return to Windows operating systems, though users will be given the choice between it and Server Core installations during set up. It will also not be included in Windows Server version 1709, 1803, or 1809.
A new feature for Windows Server 2019 is System Insights. This new, native, predictive analytics is backed by a machine-learning model that will analyze Windows Server system data locally. Like any predictive analytics software, the insight you gain would reduce expenses and the need to reactively manage server issues.
Windows Admin Center consolidates all of your server management tools into one area. It can be downloaded at no additional cost. An internet connection and Azure are also not required for Windows Admin Center to deploy.
Additionally, the Server Core app compatibility feature on demand and the Azure Network Adapter significantly improves functionality, compatibility, automation, and overall performance of the operating system.
Branded Application Servers
Despite the delay in the full release of Windows Server 2019, new branded application servers are already available to download.
For what it’s worth, some of their function is dependent on running through the Windows Server 2019 operating system. However, Exchange Server 2019, SharePoint Server 2019, and Skype for Business Server 2019 are all available for download.
Exchange Server 2019 features include:
- Use up to 48 processor cores and 256GB of RAM
- Improved search with Bing technology, providing faster and better results, faster database failovers, and easier administration.
- Solid-state drive support.
- Dynamic Database Cache – allocate more memory to active database copies.
- Support for routing mail to and from EAI/IDN recipients.
SharePoint Server 2019 features include:
- Modern user-interface
- Responsive app-design
- SharePoint Framework for developers
- Increased size in file uploads, URL path lengths, and support for # and % characters in your library’s file and folder names.
Skype for Business Server 2019 features include:
- Cloud Voicemail support for unified messaging services.
- Call Data Connector, which simplifies call monitoring in a hybrid environment using a unified toolset.
- Side-by-side migration for installation and upgrades (which will help tremendously if you’re running on Windows Server 2016, waiting to make the jump to 2019).
Windows Server 2019 features Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP). ATP suppresses and terminates malicious files and processes. Its deep platform sensors and response actions expose memory and kernel level attacks.
ATP also boasts a new set of host-intrusion prevention capabilities with the Windows Defender ATP Exploit Guard. Its components are designed to help you locate security risks while allowing you to maintain productivity.
ATP Exploit Guard Features:
- Attack Surface Reduction (ASR)
- Network protection
- Controlled folder access
- Exploit protection
Other security enhancements include improvements in branch office, general troubleshooting, Linux support, and upgrades to Software Defined Networking (SDN, introduced in Windows Server 2016). HTTP/2 also delivers a faster, safer web browsing experience.
Is It Worth It?
Honestly, that decision is completely up to you and what’s right for your company. The new Server 2019 features are exciting and extensive. And ff you’re already on a Windows plan and were planning to upgrade to the 2019 Server, that means you can probably afford to be patient and wait for the full rollout.
And if you’re not currently on a Windows plan, the delay shouldn’t make you hesitate if timing is not a concern for you. The glitch has nothing to do with the function of Windows 2019 Server. And frankly, if the features appeal to what your company needs, then it may be the right choice.
In the mean time if you’re planning on waiting until January for that full hardware upgrade, you’ll need an IT Asset Disposition specialist to help you properly dispose of and receive the maximum value for all of your equipment.
Have something to add? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!