Windows Insiders, folks who are enrolled in Microsoft's early-access and feedback program, can now get their first peek at how Windows Server 2019 will handle their enterprise workloads.
Windows Server 2019 represents one of two “servicing models” Microsoft is now using to deliver the operating system to customers, and it is the one targeted at long-time users who prefer the company's traditional approach to software releases.
Microsoft announced in June 2017 that Windows Server, along with System Center, would receive twice-yearly feature releases. This timetable, called the Semi-Annual Channel, resembles that of Windows 10, Office and a growing number of software Microsoft offerings.
It abandons year-based version numbers, like Windows Server 2016, in favor of four-digit numbers that denote the year and month associated with a new release. For example, the "1709" in Windows Server version 1709, refers to September 2017.
Windows Server 2019 is part of the company's Long-Term Servicing Channel, which more closely approximates Microsoft's historical software delivery strategy and will retain the release year dating convention. However, its first test build, 17623, offers businesses some new ways of managing cloud workloads and securing corporate data.
Arriving in Windows Server 2019 is Cluster Sets, a new way of moving application workloads across a software-defined data center cloud, explained Dona Sarkar, a Windows and Devices Group software engineer at Microsoft and head of the Windows Insider program.
"A Cluster Set is a loosely-coupled grouping of multiple Failover Clusters: compute, storage or hyper-converged," stated Sarkar in a March 20 blog post. "Cluster Sets technology enables virtual machine fluidity across member clusters within a Cluster Set,” Sarkar wrote.
In terms of security, Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) provides visibility into attacker activities focused on the memory and kernel levels, according to Sarkar. Also new is Windows Defender ATP Exploit Guard, an intrusion prevention system that blocks suspected malicious files other suspicious activity that denotes the presence of malware.
Both the Datacenter and Standard editions of Windows Server 2019 build 17623 are available to download now as ISO files.
On the PC front, Microsoft released Windows 10 Insider preview build 17127. Notable changes include new profile pages used by Cortana to tailor the virtual assistant's interactions with users.
With this build users can add their favorite places, which Cortana uses to deliver traffic updates and reminders on when to leave in order to arrive at a destination on time. Microsoft plans to add support for family members, interests and more in subsequent releases.
Also available is "Skip Ahead" build 17627 for Insiders who want a preview of what Microsoft has in store after it releases the next major Windows 10 feature update this spring.
Although light on new functionality, it does include a fix to an issue that could cause a PC to crash if a user attempted to access an online-only file in OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud file storage service. The emoji picker is back in build 17627 with fixes that prevented it from working properly in previous builds. The emoji picker allows users to put their personal imprint on their chats and other text-based communications.