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Microsoft

Microsoft Ignite 2019 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida was a huge success with approximately 26,000 in attendance. We had a great time meeting and talking with our partners and customers. We also had a few announcements regarding features coming in the next Windows Server LTSC regarding Azure Stack HCI and Failover Clustering that I wanted to highlight.

 

In this blog, I will try to separate out each of the features announced. In some of the sessions, there were multiple announcements. Since this is the case, I want to make sure you are aware of each announcement. Due to this, a particular session may be listed in multiple sections.  I will also try to point out what things apply only to Windows Server vNext and what would also include using on Windows Server 2016/2019.

 

Ensure you go through this entire blog as there are numerous announcements including one of the biggest asks from our customers at the end. 

 

I will first start out with this one.  It doesn't apply necessarily to Failover Clustering or Azure Stack HCI, but it is an important one as the date is right around the corner.

 

Windows 2008/2008R2 End of Life

 

Windows Server 2008/2008R2 are both reaching end of life, these two sessions talk about options of planning for this day.

 

Plan for Z-Day 2020: Windows Server 2008 end of support is coming

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/82850

 

It's 2019 and your servers are 2008

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/89294

 

Quick list

 

For a quick list of announcements being made, you should catch this session listing 45 things in 45 minutes.  This will give you a brief overview of things so that you can delve a little deeper into the other session announcements below.  So if there is only one session you review from this list, this is the one.  These will cover items for both Windows Server 2016/2019 as well as Windows Server vNext.

 

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What's new for Azure Stack HCI: 45 things in 45 minutes

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/82905

 

Azure Stack is now one portfolio

 

We have expanded Azure Stack into a PORTFOLIO of products, including Azure Stack Edge, Azure Stack HCI, and Azure Stack Hub.

 

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Discover Azure Stack HCI

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/82907

 

Get started with Azure Stack HCI

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/89352

 

Azure Iaas VM Guest Cluster support for Premium File Shares and Shared Azure Disk

 

This is a preview of file shares that act like shared disks for your Azure IaaS Failover Clusters. This is not Storage Spaces Direct, this is traditional Failover Clusters for SQL Server. If you do not wish to run Storage Spaces Direct, but would rather run a traditional Failover Cluster, Shared Azure Disk is now in limited preview for your shared storage.  This one is also for all versions currently released as well as Windows Server vNext.

 

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Windows Server on Azure Overview: Lift-and-Shift migrations for Enterprise Workloads

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/81956

 

Windows Admin Center setup wizard for Storage Spaces Direct and Software Defined Networking

 

That's right. With the latest release of Windows Admin Center, you now have a walk through of creating an Azure Stack HCI system as well as SDN. PowerShell not needed !!  Note: what is in black is there now while items greyed out are coming.  This one is not limited to only vNext, but also works with currently released Windows Server 2016/2019.

 

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Jumpstart your Azure Stack HCI Deployment

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/82906

 

Get started with Azure Stack HCI

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/89352

 

Using Azure Services to manage and monitor on-premises clusters

 

See how various Azure Services can be used from the cloud to your on-premises clusters all using Windows Admin Center. The "hybrid" way of doing things now.  When talking about using these services, you can use them against your current Windows 2016/2019 HCI and traditional clusters as well as Windows Server vNext.

 

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Windows Server: What's new and what's next

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/81704

 

Modernize your retail stores or branch offices with Azure Stack HCI

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/82904

 

Clustering in the age of HCI and Hybrid

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/83946

 

Shut down safeguard

 

Say you are needing to reboot your Azure Stack HCI systems. You first reboot your first node and bring it back up. Once it comes back up, it needs to go through a re-sync of the data. However, if you were to then reboot the second node before it finishes, bad things "could" happen to your data. We will now have a built-in safeguard to prevent this from happening. If here are storage jobs currently running, we will warn you not to.  Sorry, but this is where we get into the "it's only available in Windows Server vNext" areas of the list.

 

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Modernize your retail stores or branch offices with Azure Stack HCI

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/82904

 

Increase to 16 petabytes raw storage

 

In Windows Server 2019, we announced 4 petabyte raw storage availability. In the next Windows Server LTSC, we have increased it even further to 16 petabytes raw storage. This is a big win for backup server scenarios (and others).

 

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What's next for software defined storage and networking for Windows Server

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/81960

 

Switchless Clusters

 

Here again, we announced 2-node switchless clusters for Windows Server 2019 Azure Stack HCI and Failover Clustering. For Windows Server vNext, we are now going to support more than 2 nodes with full mesh connectivity. So how many network adapters can you add?

 

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What's next for software defined storage and networking for Windows Server

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/81960

 

Get started with Azure Stack HCI

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/89352

 

Repair/Resyc Times are much faster and can throttle it.

 

When a reboot is necessary, resync times when it comes back can take a while. We have changed the way we are doing these repairs/resyncs and made it much faster. We have also introduced a way to throttle the repair/rysync. So you can now control if you need it to complete even faster or run more in the background.  This is something that will only be available in Windows Server vNext Azure Stack HCI.

 

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What's next for software defined storage and networking for Windows Server

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/81960

 

New Affinity/AntiAffinity rules

 

In the past, we have only had antiaffinity as an option to keep roles apart. Introducing new rules for affinity and antiaffinity was a must. With nodes in different sites, we also had to make it site aware. So now, you can keep roles together or apart as well as storage affinity to keep virtual machines on the same node as the storage.  These new rules will only be available in Windows Server vNext Azure Stack HCI and traditional failover clusters.

 

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What's next for software defined storage and networking for Windows Server

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/81960

 

Bitlocker

 

This one had no slides as snuck it in there with some time available. Bitlocker has been available for Clusters for quite some time. The requirement was the cluster nodes must be all in the same domain as the bitlocker key is tied to the Cluster Name Object (CNO). However, for those clusters at the edge, workgroup clusters, and multidomain clusters, Active Directory may not be present. With no Active Directory, there is no CNO. These cluster scenarios had no data at-rest security. With Windows Server vNext, we introduced our own bitlocker key stored locally (encrypted of course) for cluster to use. Now you can feel safer as at-rest security is now in place.  This feature will only be available in Windows Server vNext Azure Stack HCI and traditional failover clusters.

 

What's next for software defined storage and networking for Windows Server

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/81960

 

New Network Validation tests

 

We come up with new things all the time and networking continues to be an innovation. We are not standing pat and continue to add new tests.  These new tests will only be available in Windows Server vNext Azure Stack HCI and traditional failover clusters.

 

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What's next for software defined storage and networking for Windows Server

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/81960

 

Windows Admin Center

 

I mentioned in previous descriptions here about Windows Admin Center. The Windows Admin Center Team works tirelessly to continue to add more and more in. For the general availability (GA) announcement of the latest Windows Admin Center, you can see just how much has been added and new. Everything from continued on-premises work, hybrid, third party extensions, and more.  The work being done here is not just for the future, but all existing Azure Stack HCI and traditional failover clustering systems.

 

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Windows Server deep dive: Demopalooza

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/81949

 

Live Q&A: Manage your hybrid server environment with Windows Admin Center

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/89341

 

Windows Admin Center: Unlock Azure Hybrid value

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/81952

 

Automatically monitor, secure and update your on-premises servers from Azure with Windows Admin Center

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/83942

 

Be a Windows Admin Center expert: Best practices for deployment, configuration, and security

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/83943

 

Get more done with Windows Admin Center third-party extensions

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/83944

 

Windows Admin Center: Better together with System Center and Microsoft Azure

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/83945

 

New Windows Performance Monitor

 

Everyone is concerned with performance. We have in-box Performance Monitor, but it hasn't been updated in a long time (other than some counters with each release). In Windows Admin Center, we have also added a new Performance Monitor that can be run anywhere against any of the different versions of Windows Server. You can have multiple windows running, pause it, and much much more. We have also made it easier to look at.  As with all things Windows Admin Center, this will work with current versions of Windows Server as well as future versions.  It is also not limited to Azure Stack HCI or traditional failover clusters.

 

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Windows Server: What's new and what's next

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/81704

 

Badges

 

Badges? What are those? I don't need no stinkin' badges. Well let me tell you. Our partners have developed solutions optimized for running specific apps/workloads on Azure Stack HCI (both current and future). We are working with our partners to add these "badges" that will be in full view and searchable so you can ensure that the solution you are purchasing is the right solution for you.  

 

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Windows Server: What's new and what's next

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/81704

 

Stretch Azure Stack HCI for Disaster Recovery

 

I mentioned was saving our biggest ask for last. In Windows Server vNext, we will now offer Stretch Azure Stack HCI for disaster recovery purposes. You will now be able to have automatic failovers in case of disaster. We are also making it easier as there is less for you to configure for this, we will do a lot of this for you.  This is also one of those, "sorry, but this will be in Windows Server vNext".

 

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Stretching Azure Stack HCI for disaster recovery: A glimpse into the future

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/83962

 

What's next for software defined storage and networking for Windows Server

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/81960

 

HCI is the name, futures are the game

https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/89330

 

As I have mentioned previously, we are not resting on our laurels. We are working on many many other improvements for Windows Server vNext, we just aren't ready to announce them just yet.

 

Thank you,

John Marlin

Senior Program Manager

Windows High Availability and Storage