And the 4 Best Windows Hosting Services
The release date for Windows Server 2019 is rapidly approaching. This Windows Server release adds support for a number of features that make life easier for server administrators.
From better integration with their Azure cloud service to better security and storage options, it's a huge upgrade over previous releases.
It's currently in testing and builds have been making it out under the Windows Insider program. The final release is slated to be sometime in Q3/Q4 of 2018 so the last preview builds should be near a complete product, becoming available for Windows hosting (VPS and dedicated servers).
Here is an overview of some of the major features in the new Windows Server.
Beta Kubernetes Container Support
Kuberentes is a powerful container system that allows applications to be run in a predictable fashion. There won’t be any errors when your application is packaged in a Kuberentes container and moved from environment to environment.
Support for this kind of technology is critical when cloud computing is becoming more if a must-have feature than a nice to have. Modern businesses rely on scalable cross-platform cloud computing. With Microsoft’s new focus on the “hybrid” (on location servers with cloud integration) server environment support for Docker/Kuberentes is a big win for Windows Server.
Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)
The Windows Subsystem for Linux is included with Windows Server 2019. Basically, the WSL provides a way to run a Linux user space such as Ubuntu on top of Windows.
That can give Windows users access to a lot of the tools you might find on Windows such a lot of the tools you might need such as Bash, command line tools, and potentially GUI based applications.
This will make Server 2019 more comfortable for those who have more experience with Linux hosting (VPS or dedicated server).
While Microsoft hasn’t been open source’s biggest supporter in the past, they have extended the functionality of the WSL to be compatible with multiple Linux distributions.
New Security Features
Windows Server 2019 contains a number of security features. The first is the inclusion of Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection. Windows Defender ATP is already included in most versions of Windows 10 and is a welcome inclusion on the server side. With the number of threats targeting Windows platforms, the inclusion of a greatly improved malware solution is a great addition.
Shielded virtual machines which were introduced with Windows Server 2016 will also support virtual machines running Linux in Windows Server 2019. A shielded virtual machine is a virtual machine encrypted with BitLocker to prevent them from being compromised.
Adding Linux support for these VMs makes Windows Server an excellent choice if you need to leverage a mix of cloud services on the Enterprise level thanks to the enhanced security and cross-system compatibility that Windows Server 2019 is offering.
Internetwork encryption will also be supported. With Windows Server 2019 you will be able to designate encrypted networks inside of your software-defined network to protect traffic moving between your servers.
Windows Admin Center With Azure Services
The new Windows Admin Center allows you to deploy and use Azure services from your central server user interface. The following services are currently integrated with the Admin Center with more being added in the future:
- Azure Site Recovery - Allow quick recovery for sites running on Hyper-V machines
- Azure Backup - Allows for quick backup and restoration of your site in the event of data corruption/deletion
- Azure Update Management - Lets you run system updates across all the servers in your environment
- Azure Active Directory Authentication - Lets you enhance the security of the Windows Admin Center by giving you security features such as multi-factor authentication and conditional access policies.
Storage Migration Service
The Storage Migration Service helps admins migrate servers and their data into the Windows Server 2019 environment without needing to re-configure users or applications. The real goal of his feature is to help admins move out of older Windows Server 2003 and 2008 setups and onto platforms where Microsoft’s cloud offerings can be leveraged.
Older Windows Server platforms are less secure and simply don’t have the functionality of the new version of Windows Server and with support for Windows Server 2008 ending January 2020, now couldn’t be a better time to upgrade.
Azure File Sync
Azure File Sync transfers your organization's large-scale information storage to the cloud. The way it works is that your local server storage essentially becomes a “hot cache” that pulls data from the cloud.
When using the File Sync service you can have as many “hot caches” as you need worldwide. You can use any common protocol supported by Windows Server to access it including SMB, NFS, and FTPS.
This great feature removes local disk space as a limitation to your organization while providing great integration with Microsoft services.
Storage replica is a disaster recovery system built with cloud services in mind. Storage allows you to sync data storage across two servers making it easy to recover from any issues or disk failures or run failover clusters across multiple sites with the storage in the nodes staying in sync.
Storage Replica supports integration with Azure in the following scenarios:
- Server to Server replication inside Azure VMs
- Server to Server asynchronous replication between Azure and your on-site servers
- Cluster to Cluster replication inside Azure
- Cluster to Cluster replication between Azure and your on-site servers
If you’re thinking about Windows Server 2019 now is the time to really start moving on getting yourself ready to migrate. The increased integration with Microsoft’s Azure service makes it one of the more significant upgrades to Windows Server in some time.
With the Storage Migration Service feature its almost a no-brainer to migrate if you are running on a much earlier Windows Server platform as much of the work will be automated.
With the final product getting closer to closer and a relatively stable insider build, it never been a better time to upgrade.