Today we are pleased to release the first build of the Windows Server 2019, our next Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) release that contains both the Desktop Experience as well as Server Core in all 18 server languages, as well as the first build of the next Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel release.
What’s New in Windows Server 2019 Build 17623
For every preview release, we will provide a focus area that we would like you to take a look at and provide us with feedback on. We encourage you to try out any functionality in the release and we welcome your feedback.
Validation for every preview: There are two major areas that we would like you to try out in each preview release and report back any issues:
In-place OS Upgrade (from Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016)
Application compatibility – please let us know if any server roles or applications stops working or fails to function as it used to
Extending your Clusters with Cluster Sets
“Cluster Sets” is the new cloud scale-out technology in this Preview release that increases cluster node count in a single SDDC (Software-Defined Data Center) cloud by orders of magnitude. A Cluster Set is a loosely-coupled grouping of multiple Failover Clusters: compute, storage or hyper-converged. Cluster Sets technology enables virtual machine fluidity across member clusters within a Cluster Set and a unified storage namespace across the "set" in support of virtual machine fluidity. While preserving existing Failover Cluster management experiences on member clusters, a Cluster Set instance additionally offers key use cases around lifecycle management of a Cluster Set at the aggregate.
Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection
We provide deep platform sensors and response actions, providing visibility to memory and kernel level attacker activities and abilities to take actions on compromised machines in response to incidents such as remote collection of additional forensic data, remediating malicious files, terminating malicious processes etc.
If you’re already using Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), preview these features by simply installing the latest preview build of Windows Server, and onboard it to Windows Defender ATP.
Windows Defender ATP Exploit Guard is a new set of host intrusion prevention capabilities. The four components of Windows Defender Exploit Guard are designed to lock down the device against a wide variety of attack vectors and block behaviors commonly used in malware attacks, while enabling enterprises to balance their security risk and productivity requirements.
Attack Surface Reduction (ASR): A set of controls that enterprises can enable to prevent malware from getting on the machine by blocking suspicious malicious files (e.g.: Office docs), scripts, lateral movement, ransomware behavior, and email-based threats
Network protection: Protects the endpoint against web-based threats by blocking any outbound process on the device to untrusted hosts/IP through Windows Defender SmartScreen
Controlled folder access: Protects sensitive data from ransomware by blocking untrusted processes from accessing your protected folders
Exploit protection: A set of vulnerability exploit mitigations (replacing EMET) that can be easily configured to protect your system and applications
To deploy a default set of Exploit Guard policy on Windows Server, you can run the following cmdlets:
Windows Defender Application Control—also known as Code Integrity (CI) policy—was released in Windows Server 2016. Customer feedback has suggested that it is a great concept, but hard to deploy. To address this, we are building default CI policies, which will allow all Windows in-box files and Microsoft applications, such as SQL Server, and block known executables that can bypass CI.
The package contains an audit version and an enforced version. If the server doesn’t require additional drivers/applications, you can deploy the enforced version. Otherwise, you can use the audit policy, check uncovered executables, and then merge them into the default CI policy.
To deploy the default code integrity policy, run the following commands:
Reboot the server to allow code integrity service to load the policy.
Failover Cluster removing use of NTLM authentication
Windows Server Failover Clusters no longer use NTLM authentication by exclusively using Kerberos and certificate based authentication. There are no changes required by the user, or deployment tools, to take advantage of this security enhancement. It also allows failover clusters to be deployed in environments where NTLM has been disabled.
Shielded virtual machines: Offline mode, VMConnect and Shielded Linux support
You can now run shielded virtual machines on machines with intermittent connectivity to the Host Guardian Service by leveraging the new fallback HGS and offline mode features. Fallback HGS allows you to configure a second set of URLs for Hyper-V to try if it can’t reach your primary HGS server. To see how this can be used in a branch-office scenario, see Improved branch office support for shielded VMs in Windows Server, version 1709 on our blog. Offline mode allows you to continue to start up your shielded VMs, even if HGS can’t be reached, as long as the VM has started successfully once, and the host’s security configuration has not changed. (To enable offline mode, run the following command on the Host Guardian Service: Set-HgsKeyProtectionConfiguration –AllowKeyMaterialCaching.)
We’ve also made it easier to troubleshoot your shielded virtual machines by enabling support for VMConnect Enhanced Session Mode and PowerShell Direct. These tools are particularly useful if you’ve lost network connectivity to your VM and need to update its configuration to restore access. These features do not need to be configured, and they will automatically become available when a shielded VM is placed on a Hyper-V host running build 17040 or later.
For customers who run mixed-OS environments, we now support running Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server inside shielded virtual machines. Try it out—Create a Linux shielded VM template disk—and send us your feedback in the Feedback Hub.
Encrypted Network in SDN
Network traffic going out from a VM host can be snooped on and/or manipulated by anyone with access to the physical fabric. While shielded VMs protect VM data from theft and manipulation, similar protection is required for network traffic to and from a VM. While the tenant can setup protection such as IPSEC, this is difficult due to configuration complexity and heterogeneous environments.
Encrypted Networks is a feature which provides simple to configure DTLS-based encryption using the Network Controller to manage the end-to-end encryption and protect data as it travels through the wires and network devices between the hosts It is configured by the Administrator on a per-subnet basis. This enables the VM to VM traffic within the VM subnet to be automatically encrypted as it leaves the host and prevents snooping and manipulation of traffic on the wire. This is done without requiring any configuration changes in the VMs themselves. Try it out—Configure Encryption for a Virtual Subnet—and send us your feedback in the Feedback Hub.
Software Defined Datacenter
If you are using Storage Spaces Direct, take a look at performance history for Storage Spaces Direct.
Performance history for Storage Spaces Direct
Administrators of Storage Spaces Direct can now get easy access to historical performance and capacity data from their cluster. Did CPU usage spike last night? When did this drive become slow? Which virtual machine used the most memory last month? Is network activity trending up or down? The cluster is pushing 1,000,000 IOPS – is that my new record? Previously, you’d need external tooling to answer these questions. No more!
Previously, you’d need external tooling to answer these questions. No more!
New charts in Project Honolulu, powered by built-in cluster performance history.
Windows Server 2019 Build 17623 is available in ISO format in 18 languages. This build and all future pre-release builds will require use of activation keys during setup. The following keys allow for unlimited activations:
Windows Server vNext Semi-Annual Build 17623 The Server Core Edition is available in English only, in ISO or VHDX format. The images are pre-keyed - no need to enter a key during setup.
The most important part of a frequent release cycle is to hear what’s working and what needs to be improved, so your feedback is extremely valued. Use your registered Windows 10 Insider device and use the Feedback Hub application. In the app, choose the Server category and then the appropriate subcategory for your feedback. Please indicate what build number you are providing feedback on. We also encourage you to visit the Windows Server Insiders space on the Microsoft Tech Communities forum to collaborate, share and learn from experts.
In‑place OS upgrade: Domain Controllers. During an in-place OS upgrade, Active Directory (AD) Domain Controllers (DC) might not be upgraded correctly. So, back up any AD DCs before performing an in-place OS upgrade.
Editing or creating policies for AppLocker can cause the MMC snap-in to crash when generated rules for a packaged app.
After upgrading the operating system, the AppX database may have corrupted entries, which causes problems for components that use those entries.
Testing of the Windows core may fail because of a timeout while attempting to load the test libraries