Windows Server preview build 17093 and Project Honolulu 1802 are now available to Windows Server Insiders, members of Microsoft's early-access and feedback program.
Apart from some under-the-hood fine-tuning, there are no new features for Windows Server this time around; that honor goes to Project Honolulu. But there some new bugs that may spell a quick end to some workloads, if not the operating system itself, under certain conditions, cautioned Microsoft. For example, systems running build 17093 may fail to start with Hypervisor Code Integrity enabled, a feature that protects kernel-mode processes from malicious code.
Users may also experience a system crash using Windows Insider container images on a Windows Server Core host, a lightweight version of the system software, warned Dona Sarkar, a software engineer with Microsoft's Windows and Devices group, in a Feb. 13 announcement. In addition, testers may experience a lengthy pause in the upgrade process when it hits 88 percent and a failed Active Directory Domain Controller upgrade.
Disabling BitLocker, Microsoft's drive encryption technology, is recommended before performing an in-place upgrade. Finally, users have until July 2 to test build 17093 before the preview release quits working.
Although the latest Project Honolulu preview release is not without its own known issues—like a bug that can slow down the process of adding or removing security groups—users have several new features that they can take for a spin. Project Honolulu is the code name of a new set of management tools that is intended to bridge the gap between PowerShell, the robust command line and scripting language, and graphical solutions like the Microsoft Management Console.
Project Honolulu technical preview 1802 contains a new "settings experience" that gathers links to various controls, including the Extension Manager, into one interface. Also new is a tagging feature that allows administrators to organize their machines' connections.
The software's Server Manager component gains Microsoft feature detection logic, which enables users to focus on the task at hand without being bombarded with extraneous tools.
Server Manager now displays tools that are relevant to a particular configuration, explained Sarkar. A user managing a machine that lacks a Hyper-V role won't see the Virtual Machines and Virtual Switches tools, for instance. Feature detection logic has not been applied to all tools, including Storage Replica, she noted.
In high-availability setups, Project Honolulu can now be deployed to failover clusters. Microsoft has issued three PowerShell scripts that can be used to install, update or uninstall the software on existing clusters.
Non-English speaking users will notice the toolset's localization features now work. The software automatically selects the language used by the operating system or browser, but users can select another language with the newly enabled language drop-down menu.
Microsoft has also changed the way that administrators can dole out user access to Project Honolulu.
"Previously, to access the Honolulu service, users were required to have logon access on the gateway machine. Now you can configure your environment in such a way that users can access the Honolulu service without the rights to log on to the gateway machine," explained Sarkar.