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Windows Server 2022 Review

If you are comfortable using Windows hosting, chances are, you will be satisfied with the latest Microsoft offer. The company has recently released the Windows Server 2022, offering better features compared to the 2019 version.

Windows 2022 review cover image

 

Note: Windows Server 2022 was released quietly to General Availability during mid-August, while it was officially released on the 1st of September. It all started when Microsoft held a Windows Server Summit to launch this product. This virtual event lasted for two hours, and it covered the new features of Windows Server 2022.

Microsoft regularly introduces enhancements and updates to its server operating system, such as cloud upgrades, faster network, increased security, and so on, to meet today’s modern world’s business and data needs.

Similarly, Windows Server 2022 is built on a solid foundation of Windows Server 2019. However, it improves innovation and functionality in three key areas, application platform, Azure hybrid integration and management, and security.

In this Windows 2022 Review, you can find all there is to know regarding the latest Microsoft issue. You might already use Windows hosting and be looking for a better server. However, you might also decide to switch from Linux hosting to Windows Server 2022 due to all the new enhancements it has to offer. Either way, let’s get straight into it!

The Three Key Areas of Improvement

The Windows Server 2022 is based on Windows 2019 at its core. Primarily, the new add-ons, or better say, improvements, are classified into three broad areas, explained in detail in the following review.

First, The Application Platform

The Windows Server 2022 offers a few platform improvements regarding Windows Containers, including the Windows Container capability with Kubernetes and application compatibility. A significant improvement, in this regard, is the 30% faster startup time and better performance as a result of reducing the Windows Container images by up to 40%.

In addition, the Windows Containers now support Microsoft Message Queuing (MSMQ) and Microsoft Distributed Transaction Control (MSDTC).

illustration of how the MSMQ works

Some other additions further simplify the experience of Windows Container with Kubernetes. These improvements include consistent network policy implementation with Calico, IPv6, and support for host-process containers for node configuration.

However, even though the improvements in container support in Windows Server 2022 are pretty impressive, I want to note that they might not create that much interest in the DevOps world that is Kubernetes-obsessed due to the fact the Linux platform is viewed as superior.

Besides improvements to the platform, Windows Admin Center has been improved to make it easier to containerize .NET applications.

All these features combined can significantly improve your Windows hosting experience. After all, containers require fewer system resources than traditional or hardware virtual machine environments since they don’t include operating system images. In turn, this translates to better speed and performance. Furthermore, you can easily deploy apps running in containers to multiple different operating systems and hardware platforms.

Second, Azure Hybrid Integration Management

Next, with Windows Server 2022 and its built-in hybrid capabilities, you can increase your agility and efficiency and extend your data centers to Azure in a much easier manner than before.

Hotpatch

Hotpatch is supported in Windows Server 2022 Datacenter: Azure edition, and it is a part of Azure Auto-manage. It doesn’t require a reboot after installing updates on new Windows Server Azure Edition virtual machines. Furthermore, hot patching will bring a lot of advantages for maintaining virtualized Windows Server workloads running in the Azure Iaas cloud.

See, patching is typically one of the most significant difficulties of many companies. So, it’s pretty impressive that Microsoft decided to do this if you ask me.

Windows Admin Center

The Windows Admin Center has been improved to manage Windows Server 2022. These improvements include allowing the users to enable features and improving the Secured-Core features’ current state, but more on that later.

Azure Arc

Azure Arc-enabled servers offer a secure and comprehensive approach to integration anywhere in edge, multi-cloud, and on-premises environments. A hybrid machine becomes a connected machine once it’s connected to Azure and is treated as a resource in Azure.

And Third, Security Enhancements

With the Windows Server 2022, you will get exhaustive protection against advanced threats since it combines security capabilities in Windows Server across several areas. Hosting services nowadays need full protection, and Windows Server 2022 has advanced multi-layer security, so you can rest assured that your solution is completely safe.

illustration of secured Windows Server 2022

Secured-Core Server

As the name implies, Microsoft is taking the technology used into newer PC devices and expanding it to the server platform to protect against firmware attacks. You will get extra security protection that is useful against modern attacks thanks to the secured-core server-certified hardware from an OEM partner. If you’re in an industry that is data sensitive and handling some critical data, this can provide increased assurance.

For the advanced security features of Windows Server 2022 to be enabled, a secured-core server uses driver, firmware, and hardware capabilities. Secure Core Servers from the major server manufacturers will come with Bitlocker plus VBS, or Virtualization Based Security, and a TPM, or Trusted Platform Module 2.0 chip, which will be enabled out of the box. Secure Core Servers comprise six areas, including:

  • TPM 2.0
  • VBS
  • Secure Boot
  • System Guard
  • Boot DMA Protection
  • Hypervisor based Code Integrity (HVCI)

VBS

Virtualization-based security is supported by secured-core servers and HVCI, or hypervisor-based code integrity. VBS uses hardware virtualization features to isolate and create a secure memory region from the usual operating system. It protects against a class of vulnerabilities used in crypto mining attacks. In addition, the use of Credential Guard is allowed by VBS, where a virtual container stores user secrets and credentials. This way, they cannot be directly accessed by the operating system.

HVCI also uses VBS to strengthen code integrity policy enforcement and prevent unsigned system files or drives from being loaded into system memory.

Firmware Protection

Secured-core server processors support verification and measurement of boot processes with DRTM, or Dynamic Root of Trust for Measurement technology, and isolation of driver access to memory with DMA, or Direct Memory Access protection.

TPM 2.0

You get a hardware-based secure store for sensitive cryptographic data and keys provided by TPM 2.0 secure crypto-processor chips. Trusted Platform Module 2.0 can verify that a legitimate code was used to start the server. This is used by many features such as BitLocker Drive encryption, known as a hardware root-of-trust.

Secure Connectivity

The core of the interconnected systems of today is secure connections. In this section, we will look at improvements in secure connectivity.

TLS 1.3 and HTTPS

The latest version of the security protocol that is mostly deployed on the internet is Transport Layer Security, or TLS 1.3. What TLS 1.3 does is encrypts data to provide communication between two points that will be completely secure. Windows Server 2022 has enabled TLS 1.3 and HTTPS by default, which means that their client’s data connection to the server is fully protected.

TLS 1.3 and HTTPS aim to encrypt as much of the communication as possible, enhance security over older versions, and eliminate outdated cryptographic algorithms.

DNS-over-HTTPS

In addition, Windows Server 2022’s DNS client now supports DNS-over-HTTPS that uses HTTPS protocol to encrypt DNS queries. It prevents your DNS data from being manipulated, and it prevents eavesdropping by keeping your traffic as private as possible.

SBM EAS-256

The Windows Server supports AES-256-CCM and AES-256-GCM cryptographic suites from SMB encryption.

RDMA and SMB Direct

Low latency, high bandwidth networking fabric for workloads like SQL Server, Scale-Out File Server, Hyper-V, Storage, Replica, and Storage Spaces Direct is supplied by RDMA and SMB Direct.

SMC Over QUIC

Lastly, the SMB 3.1.1 protocol in Windows Server 2022 Datacenter: Azure Edition is updated by SBM over QUIC. By using SMB over QUIC, applications and users can reliably and securely access data from edge file servers running in Azure. Telecommuters and mobile users will no longer need VPN to access their file servers over SMB when using Windows. In my opinion, this is the most important feature in Windows Server 2022, and it is most applicable in the real world.

However, one of the things that disappointed me is that the SMB over QUIC isn’t offered in Windows Server 2022 Datacenter/Standard. It is only available for a new file server that you run on Azure Stack HCI in your datacenter or in Azure, and only if you connect from a Windows 11 client.

Other Important Features

As mentioned, we can connect the Windows Server 2022 improvements to three main areas, all of which are vital for a smooth web hosting experience. However, that’s not where it ends, as some other essential features are also worthy of mention.

Management of Cloud

When the leadership of Microsoft was handed down from Steve Ballmer to Satya Nadella in 2014, Microsoft began shifting from selling software to selling services from the cloud. Since then, the versions of Windows Server have become more tailored toward the needs of data centers that offer the underlying foundation for the cloud.

The Azure edition of Windows Server 2022 has one of the most important features built into in, which is cloud automation and management with best security practices, including the following:

  • Retain the original IP address while you’re migrating data from on-premises to Azure
  • Automate administrative tasks such as Azure Archiving and Monitoring
  • Auto-update of templates and allocation of resources on demand
  • Applying security fixes without the need to restart the server
  • Automating Linux VM management and automating Windows Server, therefore reducing costs

Microsoft Edge Browser

With Windows Server 2022, you will get Microsoft Edge instead of Internet Explorer. Microsoft Edge is backed by Microsoft innovation and security, and it is built on Chromium open source. Remember that Microsoft Edge follows the Modern Lifecycle for its support lifecycle, unlike the rest of Windows Server.

Networking Improvements

User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) are two major protocols in all network communication, and Microsoft has improved both in Windows Server 2022. It has included UDP Segmentation Offload (USO) and UDP Receive Side Coalescing (UDP RSC), reducing CPU load. In addition, the TCP HyStart++ helps reduce packet loss during connection startup and RACK to shorten retransmission time.

Furthermore, Windows Server 2022 features a Virtual Switch Enhancement that improves performance on both network traffic from an external host and a virtual NIC to another virtual NIC on the same host. The QUIC feature, in turn, facilitates copying files remotely without the need for a VPN over an advanced SMB (Message Block Server).

See, UDP is a communications protocol that facilitates the exchange of messages between computing devices in a network. Alternatively, you can use TCP.

Still, most Windows hosting users prefer this solution due to the RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) since it creates somewhat of a cloud computer. If you are one of them, rest assured; you can enable RDP in Windows Server 2022 as well.

Note: You can install the server core and desktop version on all versions of Windows Server 2022. The desktop version is installed for remote desktop sessions hosted with non-server services and other components.

How to Enable Remote Desktop in Windows Server 2022?

Windows Server 2022 provides the Remote Desktop Services (RDS) feature that lets multiple users connect simultaneously to access applications and desktops remotely.

Therefore, it’s especially beneficial for the IT sector for remote administration. For instance, these teams might use the RDS to connect to the devices such as Windows 10, Windows Server 2022 and manage tasks. In this part of the Windows 2022 Review, you can learn how to enable the Remote Desktop in Windows Server 2022, even without coding skills or experience.

See, you can enable Remote Desktop in Windows Server 2022 in more than a few ways. However, here’s the best or, say, most straightforward alternative.

First, you need to log in with a local administrator account to make the changes. Second, open Server Manager and select Local Server. Once you do so, you will spot the Properties section. Here, look for Remote Desktop. When you find it, you will spot that it is Disabled. Click on it, and you will immediately enable it.

screenshot of Server Manager window with highlighted "Remote Desktop-Disabled"

Then, check the box Allow remote connections to this computer in the System Properties dialog. Ensure that you check the option Allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with NLA since it is the recommended and more secure one.

If you click on Select users, you can add users and allow them to remote desktop the Windows server 2022. Furthermore, you can select the domain users and allow remote access to the server if Windows Server 2022 is domain joined.

screenshot of System properties window with highlighted "Allow remote connections to this computer"

If you don’t like this approach, you can alternate opening the remote desktop settings on a computer. First, run the command sysdm.cpl. It will open the system properties window to select the Remote tab from system properties and enable the Remote Desktop Settings.

Discontinued or Removed Features

Naturally, while improving each version of Windows Server, Microsoft also ends some of the old features. This section will go over the features that have been discontinued or removed in the Windows 2022 Server.

  • iSNS Server – The Internet Storage Name Service Server has been removed from Windows Server 2022.
  • SAC – The Semi-Annual Channel will continue with Kubernetes communities like AKS from Azure Stack HCI, but it will be discontinued or replaced with a longer-term channel as the primary release channel.
  • WDS –  The deployment features of the Windows Deployment Services operating system are partly discontinued.
  • RSAT – The Remote Server Administration Tool has been removed from the client version of Windows.
  • VMs – Even though Microsoft supports Guarded Fabric and Shielded Virtual Machines, they won’t be in future development any longer.

Three Editions of Windows Server 2022

Now that you get the respective improvements in the Windows Server 2022 let’s dive into more details. Currently, Windows Server is offered in three editions: the Essentials, Standard, and Datacenter editions.

The Essentials edition is for small businesses with up to 50 devices and 25 users, and it is priced at about $501. The Standard edition is meant for physical or minimally virtualized environments, and it is priced at about $1,065. Lastly, the Datacenter edition is for data centers that are highly virtualized and for cloud environments, and it is priced at about $6,155.

The option to install the desktop version and server core are available in all versions of the Windows Server 2022. Remote desktop sessions hosted with non-server services and other components are intended to install the desktop version. On the other hand, installing the server version is intended for certain functions and roles such as virtualization, Active Directory, web server, and DNS server.

The base version of Windows Server 2022 is the Standard Edition. The single license of the Standard version can only work with one Hyper-V host and two virtual machines. The Replica Storage options are available with one resource group with a capacity of 2 terabytes and one partnership. The standard version doesn’t include software-defined networking and storage and hot patching features.

The Windows Server 2022 Datacenter version has some elite features such as protected VMs that are not a part of the Standard Edition. The protected VMs feature protects the startup files and firmware of the VM and enables BitLocker disk encryption. Since data management and protection are very important to an enterprise-level infrastructure, Microsoft integrates two crucial functions: storage replication and software-defined storage with Storage Spaces Direct.

The Windows Server 2022 Datacenter Azure Edition was created for the Microsoft Azure platform. It offers some great features not available in the Data Center Edition and Standard edition, such as Server Message Block via QUIC or the hot patch feature.

Lastly, the Windows Server 2022 Essential edition supports processors with a max of 10 cores. However, it lacks client backup, a dashboard, and access anywhere.

Windows Server 2022 is available for customers with existing licensing agreements in the Microsoft Volume Licensing Center or in the Azure Marketplace for use as an Azure virtual machine. You can also use the Windows Evaluation Center to download the evaluation version, with ISO and VHD installer options.

Comparison of Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server 2022

Compared to Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2022 is a lot more flexible, secure and supports hybrid deployments. Below, we will look at the three main things that differentiate these two servers by Windows.

  1. Windows Server 2022 introduces Server Message Block, Secure DNS, and Transport Layer 1.3 security in terms of connectivity. On the other hand, Windows Server 2019 has Software-Defined Network Security.
  2. Windows Server 2019 offers Attack Surface Reduction, Exploit Guard, and Defender Advanced Threat Protection from a security standpoint. Meanwhile, Windows Server 2022 offers improved security regarding virtualization environment security, firmware protection, and cryptographic keys.
  3. The IT infrastructure of today has made it a necessity to have the cloud. Windows Server 2019 has a hybrid cloud service that includes compatibility with the core applications of the cloud. However, Windows Server 2022 took things one step further, integrating Azure Arc Technology. With this technology, you use a central console from Azure to manage several clouds.

Kamatera Windows Server 2022

Kamatera is a global cloud service platform provider that provides cloud infrastructure products to organizations of all sizes and types. Kamatera was founded in 1995, and thanks to 25 years of experience, it is at the cutting edge of cloud computing technology. It offers a high level of customer service and access to the most advanced technology available today.

One of the best things about Kamatera is that users can scale down or scale up services with just a click of a button, and they can decide if they want to be charged monthly or hourly. If this isn’t enough to persuade you of the advantages that Kamatera has, I want to add that Kamatera also offers users a 30-day free trial.

Needless to say, Kamatera provides hosting servers with all available operating systems such as Linux, Free BSD, Windows, and much more. When it comes to Windows Server 2022, Kamatera offers two editions: Standard 64-bit and Datacenter 64-bit.

Kamatera offers tailored solutions in terms of Operating Systems, Processors, Types of Servers, Memory (RAM), Operating Systems Adds-Ons, SSD Storage, Public IPs, Internet traffic, and Data Centers.

screenshot of Kamatera customized plans

In the Operating System section, you will find loads of operating systems, and I’m going to choose the Windows Server 2022 Standard 64-bit. As we’ve previously mentioned, the Datacenter edition is great for cloud environments and highly virtualized data centers. On the other hand, the Standard edition is for minimally virtualized or standard environments, and this is the option that I’ve opted out for.

screenshot of the supported OS

After picking Windows Server 2022 as an operative system, you will need to fill out all the other fields, including SSD storage, RAM (Memory), Internet Traffic, and so on. The settings I’ve decided to go with is Type A – Availability, 1 VCPU (2667MHz), 1024 MB of RAM, 30 GB of SSD Storage, 5000 GB/month connected at 10 Gbit/sec internet traffic, one public IPs, a data center that is the closest to me, no operating system add-ons, no fully managed service, and no extended daily backups. I decided to be billed hourly, for which I will need to pay $0.032 per hour. If I went for the option to be billed monthly, it would cost me $23.

After entering all of the information mentioned above, I clicked on the orange Create Server button on the bottom.

Then, a pop-up window will appear, where you can create your free account.

screenshot of creating a free account

To create an account, you need to enter your email and password and click on Go.

screenshot of Email Validation window

Then, Kamatera will take you to a new screen that notifies you that you should open your email mailbox and click the validation link to proceed with signup. Once you’ve verified your email, you will be taken to the Kamatera Cloud Platform.

screenshot of Kamatera welcome-page

The second step you need to take is to add a billing profile. To do this, you need to click on the green button in the middle of the screen that says add billing profile.

screenshot of Billing profile (creating)

To complete your billing profile, you will need to enter some information about yourself, like your first and last name, address, city, country, zip code, phone, and state. After you’ve filled out all the information, just click on next on the bottom right corner. Then, you will need to re-enter your phone number. They will send a code to your phone, which you will need to enter on the site to complete the double verification process.

Once you’ve entered the code, the following window should appear in front of you. It means that the phone number verification process passed successfully.

screenshot of Billing profile (phone number verification passed successfully message)

Once this is done, you make sure that you click on next on the bottom right corner.

screenshot of Billing profile (adding a promo code)

Then, you will see a new screen where the Promo Code that includes 30 days free usage, 1 Cloud Server of up to 100 USD, 1000 GB Cloud Block Storage, and 1000 GB Outgoing Internet Traffic will show up. In addition, you will need to enter your credit card information, which includes the name of the cardholder, the card number, and the expiration date.

Kamatera notifies you that you will be charged a small amount of up to 2 USD to verify your credit card. Still, you won’t be charged for any product usage unless you exceed the free usage tier or promo.

Once you’ve entered all of the required information, you can go ahead and click on finish. The processing of the information might take up to 60 seconds.

The last thing you need to do is pick the specifications for your server, and you’re good to go!

Final Thought – Is Microsoft Windows Server 2022 Worth it?

Microsoft has indeed boosted the hosting experience for users worldwide by issuing the Windows Server 2022. As explained over this Windows 2022 review, by adopting this solution, companies will restructure their application to meet demanding growth, integrate their current virtual environments into their hybrid cloud models, and manage their business with a secure infrastructure.

I recommend that you go for the Standard Edition if you’re looking for very little virtual participation and an on-premise solution. On the other hand, the Windows 2022 Azure Data Edition or Data Center with management features and advanced security is a suitable choice for you if you’re planning for scalability in your data center or cloud or you have a large enterprise-grade virtual setup.

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