Windows Server 2019 – now available in preview

This blog post was authored by Erin
Chapple, Director of Program Management, Windows Server.

Today is a big day for Windows
Server! On behalf of the entire Windows Server team, I am delighted to announce
Windows Server 2019 will be generally available in the second half of calendar
year 2018. Starting now, you can access the preview build through our Insiders program.

new in Windows Server 2019

Windows Server 2019 is built on the
strong foundation of Windows Server 2016 – which continues to see great
momentum in customer adoption. Windows Server 2016 is the fastest adopted
version of Windows Server, ever! We’ve been busy since its launch at Ignite
2016 drawing insights from your feedback and product telemetry to make this
release even better.

We also spent a lot of time with
customers to understand the future challenges and where the industry is going.
Four themes were consistent – Hybrid, Security, Application Platform, and
Hyper-converged infrastructure. We bring numerous innovations on these four
themes in Windows Server 2019.

Hybrid cloud scenarios:

We know that the move to the cloud
is a journey and often, a hybrid approach, one that combines on-premises and
cloud environments working together, is what makes sense to our customers.
Extending Active Directory, synchronizing file servers, and backup in the cloud
are just a few examples of what customers are already doing today to extend
their datacenters to the public cloud. In addition, a hybrid approach also
allows for apps running on-premises to take advantage of innovation in the
cloud such as Artificial Intelligence and IoT. Hybrid cloud enables a
future-proof, long-term approach – which is exactly why we see it playing a
central role in cloud strategies for the foreseeable future.

Ignite in September 2017, we announced the Technical Preview of Project Honolulu
– our reimagined experience for management of Windows and Windows Server.
Project Honolulu is a flexible, lightweight browser-based locally-deployed
platform and a solution for management scenarios. One of our goals with Project
Honolulu is to make it simpler and easier to connect existing deployments of
Windows Server to Azure services. With Windows Server 2019 and Project
Honolulu, customers will be able to easily integrate Azure services such as
Azure Backup, Azure File Sync, disaster recovery, and much more so they will be
able to leverage these Azure services without disrupting their applications and

Security continues to be a top
priority for our customers. The number of cyber-security incidents continue to
grow, and the impact of these incidents is escalating quickly. A Microsoft
study shows that attackers take, on average, just 24-48 hours to penetrate an environment after
infecting the first machine. In addition, attackers can stay in the penetrated
environment – without being noticed – for up to 99 days on average, according to a report
by FireEye/Mandiant. We continue on our journey to help our customers improve
their security posture by working on features that bring together learnings
from running global-scale datacenters for Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and
several other online services.

Our approach to security is
three-fold – Protect, Detect and Respond. We bring security features in all
three areas in Windows Server 2019.
On the Protect front, we introduced Shielded VMs in Windows Server 2016, which
was enthusiastically received by our customers. Shielded VMs protect virtual
machines (VM) from compromised or malicious administrators in the fabric so
only VM admins can access it on known, healthy, and attested guarded fabric. In
Windows Server 2019, Shielded VMs will now support Linux VMs. We are also
extending VMConnect to improve troubleshooting of Shielded VMs for Windows
Server and Linux. We are adding Encrypted Networks that will let admins encrypt
network segments, with a flip of a switch to protect the network layer between

On the Detect and Respond front, in Windows
Server 2019, we are embedding Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP)
that provides preventative protection, detects attacks and zero-day exploits
among other capabilities, into the operating system. This gives customers
access to deep kernel and memory sensors, improving performance and
anti-tampering, and enabling response actions on server machines.


Application Platform:
A key guiding principle for us on
the Windows Server team is a relentless focus on the developer experience. Two
key aspects to call out for the developer community are improvements to Windows
Server containers and Windows Subsystem on Linux (WSL).
Since the introduction of containers
in Windows Server 2016, we have seen great momentum in its adoption. Tens of
millions of container images have been downloaded from the Docker Hub. The team
learned from feedback that a smaller container image size will significantly
improve experience of developers and IT Pros who are modernizing their existing
applications using containers. In Windows Server 2019, our goal is to reduce
the Server Core base container image to a third of its current size of 5 GB.
This will reduce download time of the image by 72%, further optimizing the
development time and performance.
We are also continuing to improve
the choices available when it comes to orchestrating Windows Server container
deployments. Kubernetes support is currently in beta, and in
Windows Server 2019, we are introducing significant improvements to compute,
storage, and networking components of a Kubernetes cluster.
A feedback we constantly hear from
developers is the complexity in navigating environments with Linux and Windows
deployments. To address that, we previously extended Windows Subsystem on Linux (WSL) into insider builds for
Windows Server
, so that customers can run Linux containers
side-by-side with Windows containers on a Windows Server. In Windows Server
2019, we are continuing on this journey to improve WSL, helping Linux users
bring their scripts to Windows while using industry standards like OpenSSH,
Curl & Tar.
Finally, Window Server customers
using System Center will be excited to know that System Center 2019 is coming
and will support Windows Server 2019.

We have much more to share between
now and the launch later this year. We will bring more details on the goodness
of Windows Server 2019 in a blog series that will cover the areas above.

up for the Insiders program to access Windows Server 2019

We know you probably cannot wait to
get your hands on the next release, and the good news is that the preview build
is available today to Windows Insiders. Join the program to ensure you
have access to the bits. For more details on this preview build, check out the Release

We love hearing from you, so don’t
forget to provide feedback using the Windows Feedback Hub app, or the Windows Server space in the Tech community.