A few weeks ago, Microsoft announced the next version of Windows Server in the Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC): Windows Server 2019. Keeping in mind that the LTSC server releases are similar to traditional server versions, this represents the next major release for Windows Server. This release will include the full Desktop Experience and has 10 years of support. This is in contrast to the Semi-Annual Channel which only comes in Server Core and gets 18 months of support. Let's take a look at some of the new features of Windows Server 2019:
Project Honolulu - Azure Integration
Project Honolulu, the new web-based server management platform, is being rebranded to Windows Admin Center. With Windows Server 2019, this tool will support various integrations with Azure services, including Azure Backup, Azure File Sync, Disaster Recovery, and more. This will make it easier for organizations to take advantage of the Azure cloud without disrupting their applications and existing infrastructure.
Windows Admin Center (Project Honolulu) with Azure Backup integration
Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP)
Windows Server 2019 includes deep integration of Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection into the operating system. This will improve attack prevention and detection, and enable response actions in the OS. Windows Defender ATP is already available for Windows 10 and provides comprehensive, cloud-based endpoint monitoring for attacks and zero-day exploits across the enterprise. Extending this to Windows Server is a great option for improving the security defense of servers.
Windows Defender ATP security dashboard
Other improvements include better container support and new Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) support. Previously, WSL was only supported on desktops. While not a full Linux OS, WSL will allow admins to run Linux-based tools on their Windows servers. For example, you can run scripts that use Linux tools like curl, wget, or tar, but you cannot use it for permanent hosting of a Linux-based Apache webserver. Server 2019 also includes improvements in Hyper-V around hyper-converged infrastructure and VM security.
The new features and changes in Server 2019 focus on security, hybrid cloud, and the Hyper-V software-defined datacenter. Although these features are great overall, the day-to-day features of Windows Server are remaining largely unchanged. The most significant difference may end up being the adoption of the Windows Admin Center (Project Honolulu), which will make managing multiple servers, including Server Core, easier.
For more information about Windows Server 2019, see the official release blog post