• IBM Consulting

    DBA Consulting can help you with IBM BI and Web related work. Also IBM Linux is our portfolio.

  • Oracle Consulting

    For Oracle related consulting and Database work and support and Migration call DBA Consulting.

  • Novell/RedHat Consulting

    For all Novell Suse Linux and SAP on Suse Linux questions releated to OS and BI solutions. And offcourse also for the great RedHat products like RedHat Enterprise Server and JBoss middelware and BI on RedHat.

  • Microsoft Consulting

    For Microsoft Server 2012 onwards, Microsoft Client Windows 7 and higher, Microsoft Cloud Services (Azure,Office 365, etc.) related consulting services.

  • Citrix Consulting

    Citrix VDI in a box, Desktop Vertualizations and Citrix Netscaler security.

  • Web Development

    Web Development (Static Websites, CMS Websites (Drupal 7/8, WordPress, Joomla, Responsive Websites and Adaptive Websites).

22 May 2018

Introducing Windows Server 2019 – now available in preview

What’s new in Windows Server 2019

Windows Server 2019 is built on the strong foundation of Windows Server 2016 – which continues to see great momentum in customer adoption. Windows Server 2016 is the fastest adopted version of Windows Server, ever! We’ve been busy since its launch at Ignite 2016 drawing insights from your feedback and product telemetry to make this release even better.

We also spent a lot of time with customers to understand the future challenges and where the industry is going. Four themes were consistent – Hybrid, Security, Application Platform, and Hyper-converged infrastructure. We bring numerous innovations on these four themes in Windows Server 2019.

Windows Server 1709 – Everything you need to know in 10 minutes

Hybrid cloud scenarios:

We know that the move to the cloud is a journey and often, a hybrid approach, one that combines on-premises and cloud environments working together, is what makes sense to our customers. Extending Active Directory, synchronizing file servers, and backup in the cloud are just a few examples of what customers are already doing today to extend their datacenters to the public cloud. In addition, a hybrid approach also allows for apps running on-premises to take advantage of innovation in the cloud such as Artificial Intelligence and IoT. Hybrid cloud enables a future-proof, long-term approach – which is exactly why we see it playing a central role in cloud strategies for the foreseeable future.

At Ignite in September 2017, we announced the Technical Preview of Project Honolulu – our reimagined experience for management of Windows and Windows Server. Project Honolulu is a flexible, lightweight browser-based locally-deployed platform and a solution for management scenarios. One of our goals with Project Honolulu is to make it simpler and easier to connect existing deployments of Windows Server to Azure services. With Windows Server 2019 and Project Honolulu, customers will be able to easily integrate Azure services such as Azure Backup, Azure File Sync, disaster recovery, and much more so they will be able to leverage these Azure services without disrupting their applications and infrastructure.


Security continues to be a top priority for our customers. The number of cyber-security incidents continue to grow, and the impact of these incidents is escalating quickly. A Microsoft study shows that attackers take, on average, just 24-48 hours to penetrate an environment after infecting the first machine. In addition, attackers can stay in the penetrated environment – without being noticed – for up to 99 days on average, according to a report by FireEye/Mandiant. We continue on our journey to help our customers improve their security posture by working on features that bring together learnings from running global-scale datacenters for Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and several other online services.

Our approach to security is three-fold – Protect, Detect and Respond. We bring security features in all three areas in Windows Server 2019.
On the Protect front, we introduced Shielded VMs in Windows Server 2016, which was enthusiastically received by our customers. Shielded VMs protect virtual machines (VM) from compromised or malicious administrators in the fabric so only VM admins can access it on known, healthy, and attested guarded fabric. In Windows Server 2019, Shielded VMs will now support Linux VMs. We are also extending VMConnect to improve troubleshooting of Shielded VMs for Windows Server and Linux. We are adding Encrypted Networks that will let admins encrypt network segments, with a flip of a switch to protect the network layer between servers.

On the Detect and Respond front, in Windows Server 2019, we are embedding Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) that provides preventative protection, detects attacks and zero-day exploits among other capabilities, into the operating system. This gives customers access to deep kernel and memory sensors, improving performance and anti-tampering, and enabling response actions on server machines.

Application Platform:

A key guiding principle for us on the Windows Server team is a relentless focus on the developer experience. Two key aspects to call out for the developer community are improvements to Windows Server containers and Windows Subsystem on Linux (WSL).

Since the introduction of containers in Windows Server 2016, we have seen great momentum in its adoption. Tens of millions of container images have been downloaded from the Docker Hub. The team learned from feedback that a smaller container image size will significantly improve experience of developers and IT Pros who are modernizing their existing applications using containers. In Windows Server 2019, our goal is to reduce the Server Core base container image to a third of its current size of 5 GB. This will reduce download time of the image by 72%, further optimizing the development time and performance.

We are also continuing to improve the choices available when it comes to orchestrating Windows Server container deployments. Kubernetes support is currently in beta, and in Windows Server 2019, we are introducing significant improvements to compute, storage, and networking components of a Kubernetes cluster.

A feedback we constantly hear from developers is the complexity in navigating environments with Linux and Windows deployments. To address that, we previously extended Windows Subsystem on Linux (WSL) into insider builds for Windows Server, so that customers can run Linux containers side-by-side with Windows containers on a Windows Server. In Windows Server 2019, we are continuing on this journey to improve WSL, helping Linux users bring their scripts to Windows while using industry standards like OpenSSH, Curl & Tar.

Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI): 

Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI): HCI is one of the latest trends in the server industry today. According to IDC, the HCI market grew 64% in 2016 and Gartner says it will be a $5 billion market by 2019. This trend is primarily because customers understand the value of using x86 servers with high performant local disks to run their compute and storage needs at the same time. In addition, HCI gives the flexibility to easily scale such deployments.

Customers looking for HCI solutions can use Windows Server 2016 and the Windows Server Software Defined program today. We partnered with industry leading hardware vendors to provide an affordable and yet extremely robust HCI solution with validated design. In Windows Server 2019 we are building on this platform by adding scale, performance, and reliability. We are also adding the ability to manage HCI deployments in Project Honolulu, to simplify the management and day-to-day activities on HCI environments.

Finally, Window Server customers using System Center will be excited to know that System Center 2019 is coming and will support Windows Server 2019.

We have much more to share between now and the launch later this year. We will bring more details on the goodness of Windows Server 2019 in a blog series that will cover the areas above.

What’s new in Windows Server, version 1709 for the software-defined datacenter | BRK2278

Windows Server 2019 with no RDSH and Windows 10 Multi-user and even RDmi, where do we go?

The newest rumors and stories in my timeline suggested that the RDSH role is depleted in Windows Server 2019. Windows Server 2019 is a preview version just released. Some are installing it and they find that you can’t install the Remote Desktop Services role anymore. Together with stories about a Multi-user Windows 10 version, Microsoft working on RDmi, rumors come easily. My thoughts on this are captured in this blog, they are thoughts only so far, the truth is out there but not available for us right now. Perhaps my thoughts are far-fetched but it is what came to mind. There is an update already, I woven it into the article.

Remote Desktop Services Host is a role of Remote desktop services. RDS is the backbone of a lot of virtual environments. Since the late 90s, we’ve seen Citrix and Microsoft progress their offering based on this. You can’t deploy Citrix XenApp,  VMware Horizon RDSH server or Microsoft RDSH without this role enabled. Many companies rely on this role. Multiple users could access applications or a desktop session on one server and work together without interfering with each other. It paved the way to a centralized desktop (before VDI came into play) with a reasonable TCO. One of the key benefits of this model was that data and application managed was centralized.

The downside of the solution always was the fact that resources are shared, applications are not always supported and features like store apps are not supported. The performance was a challenge for some use cases and that’s one of the reasons VDI was introduced, a single user desktop with non-shared resources (shared on a different level).

Windows Server 2019
Soon after Windows Server 2019 – Preview Release was available stories came out of the RDSH role missing. I saw several stories about trying to install the role but failing to do so. Of course, this is a preview so we have to see if the final version also has this limitation. If the role is not available, and why would the preview not have a default role like this, there be no reason for that. It seems that the RDSH role is to disappear and that customers will be offered other option, read on for the other options.

Sign on the wall
There are signs on the wall that times are a changing. Let’s take a look at the different suspects in this case (watching a detective while writing). Windows 10 Multi-user and RDmi are the ones that come to mind.

MVPDays - New & Cool Tools! Management with Project Honolulu - Mike Nelson

Windows 10 Multi-user
Microsoft Windows 10 will be having a multi-user version. So the initial thought was that they are transferring the RDS roles to Windows 10. It would make sense in a way that several features are easier implemented when running Windows 10. Features like access to Store apps, OneDrive on demand are accessible for Windows 10 users. That, however, is only true when you run a single user Windows 10 platform and will not have issues with a multi-user environment no matter the operating system. A Windows 10 Multi-user to replace an RDSH server to bring certain features seems far sought.

One reason I can think of is licensing. Server licenses are less expensive and transferring RDS to Windows 10 would force customers to acquire Windows 10 Desktop licenses with the CALs. For a lot of customers that would be a huge issue perhaps even getting them to think of moving to physical devices again. Microsoft announced that Windows Server 2019 might be more expensive and forcing people to RDS-VDI environments might hurt them more than they like to. Initially, I thought this was the reason for the missing role but perhaps there is more. This is still a valid option I think but one for the future when RDmi is a more common scenario.

Another announcement of Microsoft is RDmi, Remote Desktop modern infra. Another initial thought is about Citrix XenApp essentials and RDmi but that’s another topic. One I work on from the 1st of April. Back to the topic.

RDmi is Remote Desktop Modern infra is the evolution in RDS and is offered as a .NET service running in Azure. The idea behind it is that all the roles you need to set up an RDS environment (given you want a Microsoft environment) are offered as a service. I won’t go deeper into RDmi right now, the intent of this article is not to explain RDmi. What I see from this offering is that Microsoft is moving RDS to Azure and enabling it to work with HTML5 clients as well. It enables more flexibility and disconnect some components from your network. There is far more to learn about this but the drawing and link below give a very good insight.

More info is found at https://cloudblogs.microsoft.com/enterprisemobility/2017/09/20/first-look-at-updates-coming-to-remote-desktop-services/

There will be a migration strategy offered for customers when it goes live. we have to wait a bit for more info. there are some blogs online already so do your “google” search.

Windows 10 Multi-user, RDmi or “old skool” RDSH, where do we go?
RDmi is a more interesting suspect, it brings modern features to RDS. It brings Azure into the picture and would offer customers a route to migrate to the new RDS offering without huge investments and testing. not every customer is keen on moving their workload to the Cloud so that might be why Windows 10 Multi-User mode is coming, although I wonder if customers are looking for that one.

I think, but that is just me, that Multi-user Windows 10s use case is different. Not sure yet what that use case is but not to massively replace RDSH. Migrating to Windows 10 would cost a lot of effort for customers, assuming they now run a server version for their desktop environment. The Windows 10 features would not be usable with multiple users working alongside each other.

Extending Windows Admin Center to manage your applications and infrastructure using modern browser-based technologies

So there are two offerings on the table and if you ask me I think there will be a campaign to move customers to RDmi. It won’t take away the burden of image management but will offer the roles as a service relieving IT admins from that management. We’ve seen similar offerings from Citrix and VMware, take the management burden away and let IT admins take care of the image only. Customs that can’t or won’t still run an on-premises environment presumably with Windows 10 in the future (1809). Microsoft is mapping the future and their idea of how you offer RDSH, as a service that is.

Because Microsoft has shifted to a more gradual upgrade of Windows Server, many of the features that will become available with Windows Server 2019 have already been in use in live corporate networks, and here are half a dozen of the best.

Enterprise-grade hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI)

With the release of Windows Server 2019, Microsoft rolls up three years of updates for its HCI platform. That’s because the gradual upgrade schedule Microsoft now uses includes what it calls Semi-Annual Channel releases – incremental upgrades as they become available. Then every couple of years it creates a major release called the Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) version that includes the upgrades from the preceding Semi-Annual Channel releases.

Windows Admin Center

The LTSC Windows Server 2019 is due out this fall, and is now available to members of Microsoft’s Insider program.

While the fundamental components of HCI (compute, storage and networking) have been improved with the Semi-Annual Channel releases, for organizations building datacenters and high-scale software defined platforms, Windows Server 2019 is a significant release for the software-defined datacenter.

With the latest release, HCI is provided on top of a set of components that are bundled in with the server license. This means a backbone of servers running HyperV to enable dynamic increase or decrease of capacity for workloads without downtime. (For more on Microsoft HCI go here.)

GUI for Windows Server 2019

A surprise for many enterprises that started to roll-out the Semi-Annual Channel versins of Windows Server 2016 was the lack of a GUI for those releases.  The Semi-Annual Channel releases only supported ServerCore (and Nano) GUI-less configurations.  With the LTSC release of Windows Server 2019, IT Pros will once again get their desktop GUI of Windows Server in addition to the GUI-less ServerCore and Nano releases.

Project Honolulu

With the release of Windows Server 2019, Microsoft will formally release their Project Honolulu server management tool.

Project Honolulu is a central console that allows IT pros to easily manage GUI and GUI-less Windows 2019, 2016 and 2012R2 servers in their environments.

The evolution of Windows Server: Project Honolulu and what's new in 1709

Early adopters have found the simplicity of management that Project Honolulu provides by rolling up common tasks such as performance monitoring (PerfMon), server configuration and settings tasks, and the management of Windows Services that run on server systems.  This makes these tasks easier for administrators to manage on a mix of servers in their environment.

Updates to server management with the Windows Admin Center (formerly Honolulu) & PowerShell Core

Improvements in security

Microsoft has continued to include built-in security functionality to help organizations address an “expect breach” model of security management.  Rather than assuming firewalls along the perimeter of an enterprise will prevent any and all security compromises, Windows Server 2019 assumes servers and applications within the core of a datacenter have already been compromised.

Windows Server 2019 includes Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) that assess common vectors for security breaches, and automatically blocks and alerts about potential malicious attacks.  Users of Windows 10 have received many of the Windows Defender ATP features over the past few months. Including  Windows Defender ATP on Windows Server 2019 lets them take advantage of data storage, network transport and security-integrity components to prevent compromises on Windows Server 2019 systems.

The battle to increase security continues unabated and in this version we get Windows Defender ATP Exploit Guard, which is an umbrella for four new features: Network protection blocks outbound access from processes on the server to untrusted hosts/IP address based on Windows Defender SmartScreen information. Controlled folder access protects specified folders against untrusted process access such as ransomware whereas Exploit protection mitigates vulnerabilities in similar ways to what EMET used to do. Finally, Attack Surface Reduction (ASR) lets you set policies to block malicious files, scripts, lateral movement and so on.

Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) is now available for Windows Server, as well, and can integrate with your current deployment.

These measures will increase the security of your Hyper-V hosts but another feature (also first seen in a SAC release) applies directly to virtualization deployments: Encrypted Networks in SDN. A single click when you create a new virtual network in the SDN stack will ensure that all traffic on that network is encrypted, preventing eavesdropping. Note that this does not protect against malicious administrators but curiously, Microsoft has promised such protection in forthcoming versions, bringing the network protection in line with the host security Shielded Virtual Machines offer.

Smaller, more efficient containers

Organizations are rapidly minimizing the footprint and overhead of their IT operations and eliminating more bloated servers with thinner and more efficient containers. Windows Insiders have benefited by achieving higher density of compute to improve overall application operations with no additional expenditure in hardware server systems or expansion of hardware capacity.

Windows Server 2019 has a smaller, leaner ServerCore image that cuts virtual machine overhead by 50-80 percent.  When an organization can get the same (or more) functionality in a significantly smaller image, the organization is able to lower costs and improve efficiencies in IT investments.

There's a lot of focus on hybrid cloud in this preview, which makes sense, given Microsoft's assertion that most businesses will be in a hybrid state for a long time to come. The focus on containers continues with much smaller images available for both the server core and Nano server images.

But the coolest feature yet is the ability to run Linux containers on Windows Server. This first saw light in one of the SAC releases and it makes a lot of sense. Remember that in Windows (unlike Linux) we have two flavors of containers, Windows Containers and Hyper-V Containers. For a developer they work exactly the same and it's a deployment choice (develop on normal containers and deploy in production in Hyper-V containers). The Hyper-V flavor gives you the security isolation of a VM although they're much smaller than a "real" VM. So, the next logical step was running a different OS in the container, in this case Linux. Following a tutorial, I was able to get a Linux  container up and running quickly.

Windows subsystem on Linux

A decade ago, one would rarely say Microsoft and Linux in the same breath as complimentary platform services, but that has changed. Windows Server 2016 has open support for Linux instances as virtual machines, and the new Windows Server 2019 release makes huge headway by including an entire subsystem optimized for the operation of Linux systems on Windows Server.

The Windows Subsystem for Linux extends basic virtual machine operation of Linux systems on Windows Server, and provides a deeper layer of integration for networking, native filesystem storage and security controls. It can enable encrypted Linux virtual instances. That’s exactly how Microsoft provided Shielded VMs for Windows in Windows Server 2016, but now native Shielded VMs for Linux on Windows Server 2019.

Enterprises have found the optimization of containers along with the ability to natively support Linux on Windows Server hosts can decrease costs by eliminating the need for two or three infrastructure platforms, and instead running them on Windows Server 2019.

Because most of the “new features” in Windows Server 2019 have been included in updates over the past couple years, these features are not earth-shattering surprises.  However, it also means that the features in Windows Server 2019 that were part of Windows Server 2016 Semi-Annual Channel releases have been tried, tested, updated and proven already, so that when Windows Server 2019 ships, organizations don’t have to wait six to 12 months for a service pack of bug fixes.

Windows Admin Center

No discussion of the future of Windows Server is complete without mentioning the free, Web-based Windows Admin Center (WAC), formerly known as "Project Honolulu." It's going to be the GUI for managing Windows Server, including Hyper-V servers, clusters, Storage Spaces Direct and HCI clusters. It's got a lot of benefits over the current mix of Server Manager, Hyper-V Manager and Failover Cluster Manager (along with PowerShell) that we use today, including the simple fact that it's all in the one UI.

How to get started with Windows Admin Center

Updates to server management with the Windows Admin Center (formerly Honolulu) & PowerShell Core

Storage Replica & Migration

In Windows Server 2016 (Datacenter only) we finally got the missing puzzle piece in Microsoft's assault on SANs -- Storage Replica (SR). This directly competes with (very expensive) SAN replication technologies and lets you replicate from any volume on a single server or a cluster to another volume in another location (synchronously up to 150 km [90 miles for those of you in the United States]), asynchronously anywhere on the planet). This is useful for creating stretched Hyper-V clusters for very high resiliency or for Disaster Recovery (DR) in general.

In Windows Server 2019 Standard we're getting SR "Lite": a single volume per server (unlimited in Datacenter), a single partnership per volume (unlimited in Datacenter) and up to 2TB volumes (unlimited in Datacenters). These are the current limitations in the preview and voting is open to change this.

Hyper-V Replica is a different technology than SR. For instance, you could create a stretched Hyper-V cluster with SR as the transport mechanism for the underlying storage between the two locations and then use Hyper-V Replica for DR, replicating VMs to a third location or to Azure.

A totally new feature, Storage Migration Service is coming in Windows Server 2019. Intended to solve the problem of migrating from older versions of Windows Server to 2019 or Azure, it's not directly related to Hyper-V, although you can of course use it from within VMs or to migrate data to Azure Stack.

Data Deduplication is now available for Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) with the ReFS filesystem, so you could be looking at saving up to 50 percent of disk space. Speaking of S2D, Microsoft now supports Persistent Memory (aka Storage Class Memory) which is essentially battery-backed DDR memory sticks, leading to storage with incredibly low latency. Also new is performance history for S2D, where you can get a history of performance across drives, NICs, servers, VMs, vhd/vhdx files, volumes and the overall cluster. You can either use PowerShell or Windows Admin Center to access the data.

Failover Clustering

One of the biggest gripes I hear from cluster administrators is the difficulty of moving a cluster from one domain to another (mergers is a common cause of this); this is being addressed in 2019. Using just two PowerShell cmdlets you can remove the cluster name account from the original Active Directory domain, shut down the cluster functionality, unjoin from the source domain and add all nodes to a workgroup, then join them to the new domain and create new cluster resources in the destination AD domain. This definitely adds flexibility around Hyper-V clusters and their domain status.

Speaking of clusters, most businesses I speak to tend to keep the number of nodes in their clusters relatively low (six, eight, 12 and 16 nodes), even though the max number of nodes is 64, and instead have more clusters. Each of these clusters is totally separate but that's going to change in Windows Server 2019. You'll be able to group several clusters together (Hyper-V, Storage and even Hyper-Converged), with a Master cluster resource running on one cluster, coordinating with a Cluster Set Worker in each cluster. You'll be able to Live Migrate VMs from one cluster to another. I can see this being useful for scaling out Azure Stack (currently limited to 12 nodes) and for bringing the concept of the Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC) closer to reality.

Another minor but potentially vital detail is using a file share witness stored in DFS. This isn't and has never been supported but not everyone reads the documentation. Imagine a six-node cluster with three nodes in a separate building with a file share witness as the tie breaker for the quorum. You could end up in a situation where the network connection between the two buildings is severed and the three nodes on one side keeps the cluster service (and thus the VMs) running because they can talk to the file share witness. But the other side has a DFS replicated copy of the same file share witness, so they, too, decide to keep the cluster service running (as they also have a majority of votes) and both sides could potentially be writing to back-end storage simultaneously, leading to serious data corruption. In Windows Server 2019 if you try to store a file share witness in DFS you'll get an error message and if it's added to DFS replication at some point in time later, it'll stop working.

You can also create a file share witness that doesn't use an AD account for scenarios where a DC isn't available (DMZ), or in a workgroup/cross-domain cluster.

Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI): In Windows Server 2019, HCI will get scale, performance, and reliability. The team is also adding the ability to manage HCI deployments in Project Honolulu, to simplify the management and day-to-day activities on HCI environments.

Windows Server 2019 will be integrated with Project Honolulu, a browser-based management solution. Microsoft aims to make it easier for enterprises to connect their existing deployments of Windows Server to Azure services.

“With Windows Server 2019 and Project Honolulu, customers will be able to easily integrate Azure services such as Azure Backup, Azure File Sync, disaster recovery, and much more so they will be able to leverage these Azure services without disrupting their applications and infrastructure,” wrote Erin Chapple, Director of Program Management, Windows Server.

Microsoft is enhancing the security in Windows Server 2019, with a three-point approach: protect, detect and respond. The company has added Shielded VMs with support for Linux VMs as well. It will protect VMs against malicious activities. The addition of Encrypted Networks will enable encryption of network segments to protect network layer between servers.

Windows Server 2019 will have embedded Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to detect attacks in the operating system. Sysadmins will have access to deep kernel and memory sensors, so that they can respond on server machines.

Under application platform, there will be improved orchestration for Windows Server container deployments. Windows Subsystem on Linux (WSL) support in new version will enable Linux users to bring their scripts to Windows while using industry standards like OpenSSH, Curl, and Tar. There is also a support of Kubernetes, which is currently in beta.

The Windows Server 2019 reduces the size of Server Core base container image from 5 GB to less than 2 GB. This will reduce the image download time by 72%, resulting in optimized development time and performance.

On Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) front, Microsoft said that it has added the ability in Windows Server 2019 to manage HCI deployments using Project Honolulu. It will make the management of several activities on HCI environments simpler.

This is a significant change that is helping organizations plan their adoption of Windows Server 2019 sooner than orgs may have adopted a major release platform in the past, and with significant improvements for enterprise datacenters in gaining the benefits of Windows Server 2019 to meet security, scalability, and optimized data center requirements so badly needed in today’s fast-paced environments.

Sign up for the Insiders program to access Windows Server 2019

We know you probably cannot wait to get your hands on the next release, and the good news is that the preview build is available today to Windows Insiders  https://insider.windows.com/en-us/for-business-getting-started-server/.

Join the program to ensure you have access to the bits. For more details on this preview build, check out the Release Notes.

We love hearing from you, so don’t forget to provide feedback using the Windows Feedback Hub app, or the Windows Server space in the Tech community.

Frequently asked questions

Q: When will Windows Server 2019 be generally available?

A: Windows Server 2019 will be generally available in the second half of calendar year 2018.

Q: Is Windows Server 2019 a Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) release?

A: Windows Server 2019 will mark the next release in our Long-Term Servicing Channel. LTSC continues to be the recommended version of Windows Server for most of the infrastructure scenarios, including workloads like Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft SharePoint, and Windows Server Software-defined solutions.

Q: What are the installation options available for Windows Server 2019?

A: As an LTSC release Windows Server 2019 provides the Server with Desktop Experience and Server Core installation options – in contrast to the Semi-Annual Channel that provides only the Server Core installation option and Nano Server as a container image. This will ensure application compatibility for existing workloads.

Q: Will there be a Semi-Annual Channel release at the same time as Windows Server 2019?

A: Yes. The Semi-Annual Channel release scheduled to go at the same time as Windows Server 2019 will bring container innovations and will follow the regular support lifecycle for Semi-Annual Channel releases – 18 months.

Q: Does Windows Server 2019 have the same licensing model as Windows Server 2016?

A: Yes. Check more information on how to license Windows Server 2016 today in the Windows Server Pricing page. It is highly likely we will increase pricing for Windows Server Client Access Licensing (CAL). We will provide more details when available.

More Information:













23 April 2018

Microsoft Azure Databricks

Azure Databricks is an Apache Spark-based analytics platform optimized for the Microsoft Azure cloud services platform.

A fast, easy, and collaborative Apache Spark™ based analytics platform optimized for Azure

Designed in collaboration with Microsoft, Azure Databricks combines the best of Databricks and Azure to help customers accelerate innovation with one-click set up, streamlined workflows and an interactive workspace that enables collaboration between data scientists, data engineers, and business analysts.

Bring teams together in an interactive workspace. From data gathering to model creation, use Databricks notebooks to unify the process and instantly deploy to production. Launch your new Spark environment with a single click. Integrate effortlessly with a wide variety of data stores and services such as Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Azure Cosmos DB, Azure Data Lake Store, Azure Blob storage, and Azure Event Hub. Add artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities instantly and share insights through rich integration with Power BI.

Protect your data and business with Azure Active Directory integration, role-based controls, and enterprise-grade SLAs. Get peace of mind with fine-grained user permissions, enabling secure access to Databricks notebooks, clusters, jobs and data.

Globally scale your analytics and data science projects. Build and innovate faster using machine learning capabilities. Add capacity instantly. Reduce cost and complexity with a fully-managed, cloud-native platform. Target any size data or project using a complete set of analytics technologies including SQL, Streaming, MLlib, and Graph.

Introduction to Azure Databricks

Big-data company Databricks Inc. made its flagship analytics platform available as an integrated service within Microsoft Corp.’s Azure public cloud.

The service, called Microsoft Azure Databricks, is designed to help customers better process massive amounts of data stored in Microsoft’s cloud, the companies said.

Databricks has grown to become one of the most recognized players on the big-data scene. The company was formed by the creators of the Spark research project at the University of California at Berkeley, which later became the popular open-source big data processing framework called Apache Spark. Databricks was founded to commercialize that software through its Unified Analytics Platform, which is analytics service based on Spark that’s increasingly being used to power modern workloads such as artificial intelligence.

In a blog post, Microsoft Vice President of Azure Data Rohan Kumar and Databricks Chief Executive Officer Ali Ghodsi revealed that Azure Databricks was the fruit of more than two years of collaboration. The executives said the companies began working on the service in response to customer requests for a version of Databricks that’s compatible with Azure. The service, introduced in beta last November, is now being made generally available.

“We experienced a lot of interest and engagement in the preview from organizations in need of a high-performance analytics platform based on Spark,” Kumar said. “With Azure Databricks, deeply integrated with services like Azure SQL Data Warehouse, our customers are now positioned to increase productivity and collaboration and globally scale analytics and data science projects on a trusted, secure cloud environment.”

Azure Databricks has been designed to help make things easier for customers. Rather than doing all the heavy lifting that comes with deploying Databricks in their own data centers, customers can simply access the service via the Azure cloud. Azure Databricks also provides greater compatibility with Microsoft’s own services.

With Azure Databricks it becomes possible to take data from other services and prepare it and process it using machine learning algorithms. From there, the data can also be streamed to other services such as CosmosDB and PowerBI, the executives said.

Azure Databricks was chiefly designed to fulfill companies’ interest in using data to power their artificial intelligence systems. To that end, the service was built with three design principles in mind. The first is enhancing user productivity in developing Big Data applications and analytics pipelines. The second principle was to build a system that could scale almost infinitely without skyrocketing costs. Third, the companies had to ensure that the new service met strict security and compliance standards for enterprises.

“Azure Databricks protects customer data with enterprise-grade SLAs, simplified security and identity, and role-based access controls with Azure Active Directory integration,” the executives said. “As a result, organizations can safeguard their data without compromising productivity of their users.”

“This speaks to the increasing power of cloud services,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. “Databricks is analytics at scale and this effort should put the analysis engine far closer to the massive amounts of data already being placed on Azure. The result should be a combination of higher performance and lower cost for analytics at massive scale.”

Databricks, provider of the leading Unified Analytics Platform and founded by the team who created Apache Spark™, will showcase its Unified Analytics Platform as a Silver sponsor (booth #1111) at the Gartner Data & Analytics Summit 2018 held March 5-8 in Grapevine, Texas. Hundreds of organizations are leveraging Databricks’ Unified Analytics Platform as a simplified approach for data science and data engineering teams to accelerate innovation and make data-driven business decisions based on big data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI).  Databricks, recently named a Visionary in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Science and Machine-Learning Platforms 2018, focuses on making Big Data and AI simple for enterprise organizations.

The Gartner Data & Analytics Summit will offer a holistic view of current trends and topics around data management, business intelligence (BI), and analytics, including innovative technologies such as AI, blockchain and IoT. Enterprises attend the Summit to learn about the shift toward a data-driven culture to lead the way to better business outcomes. Databricks’ Unified Analytics Platform directly addresses organizations’ issues associated with AI adoption and deployment, making this technology suitable for all businesses.

Databricks’ Unified Analytics Platform is a cloud-based platform powered by Apache Spark, the most popular open source technology for big data processing and machine learning workloads.

“Most data and analytics leaders realize that when it comes to embarking on new AI and Machine Learning initiatives, it’s still really about the data first and foremost.  Their teams need to figure out how you get a massive amount of data, often in real-time, to your model in a way that supports an iterative process and generates a meaningful business result,” said Rick Schultz, chief marketing officer at Databricks. “The Databricks Unified Analytics Platform addresses precisely this problem and, as such, we expect strong engagement from the attendees of Gartner Data & Analytics Summit, many of whom already use Spark.”

To expand the global reach of the Unified Analytics Platform, Databricks recently announced a joint product partnership with Microsoft. The new alliance addresses customer demand for Spark on Microsoft Azure by offering the Unified Analytics Platform as a First Party Service called Azure Databricks. This new integrated service makes it easier for organizations around the globe to derive value from their Big Data and realize the promise of AI.  With Azure Databricks, customers can accelerate innovation with one-click set up and effortless integration with a wide variety of Microsoft data stores and services.

About Databricks
Databricks’ mission is to accelerate innovation for its customers by unifying Data Science, Engineering and Business. Founded by the team who created Apache Spark™, Databricks provides a Unified Analytics Platform for data science teams to collaborate with data engineering and lines of business to build data products. Users achieve faster time-to-value with Databricks by creating analytic workflows that go from ETL and interactive exploration to production. The company also makes it easier for its users to focus on their data by providing a fully managed, scalable, and secure cloud infrastructure that reduces operational complexity and total cost of ownership. Databricks, venture-backed by Andreessen Horowitz, NEA and Battery Ventures, among others, has a global customer base that includes Viacom, Shell and HP. For more information, visit www.databricks.com.

Microsoft Azure Databricks - Azure Power Lunch

Azure is the best place for Big Data & AI
We are excited to add Azure Databricks to the Azure portfolio of data services and have taken great care to integrate it with other Azure services to unlock key customers scenarios.

High-performance connectivity to Azure SQL Data Warehouse, a petabyte scale, and elastic cloud data warehouse allows organizations to build Modern Data Warehouses to load and process any type of data at scale for enterprise reporting and visualization with Power BI. It also enables data science teams working in Azure Databricks notebooks to easily access high-value data from the warehouse to develop models.

Integration with Azure IoT Hub, Azure Event Hubs, and Azure HDInsight Kafka clusters enables enterprises to build scalable streaming solutions for real-time analytics scenarios such as recommendation engines, fraud detection, predictive maintenance, and many others.

Integration with Azure Blob Storage, Azure Data Factory, Azure Data Lake Store, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, and Azure Cosmos DB allows organizations to use Azure Databricks to clean, join, and aggregate data no matter where it sits.

We are committed to making Azure the best place for organizations to unlock the insights hidden in their data to accelerate innovation. With Azure Databricks and its native integration with other services, Azure is the one-stop destination to easily unlock powerful new analytics, machine learning, and AI scenarios.

Lift, shift, and modernize Apps using containers on Azure Service Fabric

Apache Spark + Databricks + Enterprise Cloud = Azure Databricks
Once you manage data at scale in the cloud, you open up massive possibilities for predictive analytics, AI, and real-time applications. Over the past five years, the platform of choice for building these applications has been Apache Spark: with a massive community at thousands of enterprises worldwide, Spark makes it possible to run powerful analytics algorithms at scale and in real time to drive business insights. Managing and deploying Spark at scale has remained challenging, however, especially for enterprise use cases with large numbers of users and strong security requirements.

Enter Databricks. Founded by the team that started the Spark project in 2013, Databricks provides an end-to-end, managed Apache Spark platform optimized for the cloud. Featuring one-click deployment, autoscaling, and an optimized Databricks Runtime that can improve the performance of Spark jobs in the cloud by 10-100x, Databricks makes it simple and cost-efficient to run large-scale Spark workloads. Moreover, Databricks includes an interactive notebook environment, monitoring tools, and security controls that make it easy to leverage Spark in enterprises with thousands of users.

In Azure Databricks, we have gone one step beyond the base Databricks platform by integrating closely with Azure services through collaboration between Databricks and Microsoft. Azure Databricks features optimized connectors to Azure storage platforms (e.g. Data Lake and Blob Storage) for the fastest possible data access, and one-click management directly from the Azure console. This is the first time that an Apache Spark platform provider has partnered closely with a cloud provider to optimize data analytics workloads from the ground up.

Benefits for Data Engineers and Data Scientists
Why is Azure Databricks so useful for data scientists and engineers? Let’s look at some ways:

Azure Databricks is optimized from the ground up for performance and cost-efficiency in the cloud. The Databricks Runtime adds several key capabilities to Apache Spark workloads that can increase performance and reduce costs by as much as 10-100x when running on Azure:

High-speed connectors to Azure storage services such as Azure Blob Store and Azure Data Lake, developed together with the Microsoft teams behind these services.
Auto-scaling and auto-termination for Spark clusters to automatically minimize costs.
Performance optimizations including caching, indexing, and advanced query optimization, which can improve performance by as much as 10-100x over traditional Apache Spark deployments in cloud or on-premise environments.

Remember the jump in productivity when documents became truly multi-editable? Why can’t we have that for data engineering and data science? Azure Databricks brings exactly that. Notebooks on Databricks are live and shared, with real-time collaboration, so that everyone in your organization can work with your data. Dashboards enable business users to call an existing job with new parameters. And Databricks integrates closely with PowerBI for interactive visualization.  All this is possible because Azure Databricks is backed by Azure Database and other technologies that enable highly concurrent access, fast performance and geo-replication.

Azure Databricks comes packaged with interactive notebooks that let you connect to common data sources, run machine learning algorithms, and learn the basics of Apache Spark to get started quickly. It also features an integrated debugging environment to let you analyze the progress of your Spark jobs from within interactive notebooks, and powerful tools to analyze past jobs. Finally, other common analytics libraries, such as the Python and R data science stacks, are preinstalled so that you can use them with Spark to derive insights. We really believe that big data can become 10x easier to use, and we are continuing the philosophy started in Apache Spark to provide a unified, end-to-end platform.

Architecture of Azure Databricks
So how is Azure Databricks put together? At a high level, the service launches and manages worker nodes in each Azure customer’s subscription, letting customers leverage existing management tools within their account.

Microsoft Data Platform - What's included

Specifically, when a customer launches a cluster via Databricks, a “Databricks appliance” is deployed as an Azure resource in the customer’s subscription.   The customer specifies the types of VMs to use and how many, but Databricks manages all other aspects. In addition to this appliance, a managed resource group is deployed into the customer’s subscription that we populate with a VNet, a security group, and a storage account. These are concepts Azure users are familiar with. Once these services are ready, users can manage the Databricks cluster through the Azure Databricks UI or through features such as autoscaling. All metadata (such as scheduled jobs) is stored in an Azure Database with geo-replication for fault tolerance.

Azure Databricks Architecture

For users, this design means two things. First, they can easily connect Azure Databricks to any storage resource in their account, e.g., an existing Blob Store subscription or Data Lake. Second, Databricks is managed centrally from the Azure control center, requiring no additional setup.

Is the traditional data warehouse dead?

Total Azure Integration
We are integrating Azure Databricks closely with all features of the Azure platform in order to provide the best of the platform to users. Here are some pieces we’ve done so far:

Diversity of VM types:  Customers can use all existing VMs: F-series for machine learning scenarios, M-series for massive memory scenarios, D-series for general purpose, etc.
  • Security and Privacy:  In Azure, ownership and control of data is with the customer.  We have built Azure Databricks to adhere to these standards.  We aim for Azure Databricks to provide all the compliance certifications that the rest of Azure adheres to.
  • Flexibility in network topology: Customers have a diversity of network infrastructure needs.  Azure Databricks supports deployments in customer VNETs, which can control which sources and sinks can be accessed and how they are accessed.
  • Azure Storage and Azure Data Lake integration: these storage services are exposed to Databricks users via DBFS to provide caching and optimized analysis over existing data.
  • Azure Power BI: Users can connect Power BI directly to their Databricks clusters using JDBC in order to query data interactively at massive scale using familiar tools.
  • Azure Active Directory provide controls of access to resources and is already in use in most enterprises. Azure Databricks workspaces deploy in customer subscriptions so naturally AAD can be used to control access to sources, results and jobs.
  • Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Azure SQL DB and Azure CosmosDB: Azure Databricks easily and efficiently uploads results into these services for further analysis and real-time serving, making it simple to build end-to-end data architectures on Azure.
In addition to all the integration you can see, we have worked hard to integrate in ways that you can’t see – but can see the benefits of.

Internally, we use Azure Container Services to run the Azure Databricks control-plane and data-planes via containers.

  • Accelerated Networking provides the fastest virtualized network infrastructure in the cloud.   Azure Databricks utilizes this to further improve Spark performance.
  • The latest generation of Azure hardware (Dv3 VMs), with NvMe SSDs capable of blazing 100us latency on IO.  These make Databricks I/O performance even better.
  • We are just scratching the surface though!  As the service becomes GA and moves beyond that, we expect to add continued integrations with other upcoming Azure services.

Microsoft and Databricks are very excited to partner together to bring you Azure Databricks. For the first time, a leading cloud provider and leading analytics system provider have partnered to build a cloud analytics platform optimized from the ground up – from Azure’s storage and network infrastructure all the way to Databricks’s runtime for Apache Spark. We believe that Azure Databricks will greatly simplify building enterprise-grade production data applications, and we would love to hear your feedback as the service rolls out.

Azure Stream Analytics

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23 March 2018

Announcing General Availability of Red Hat CloudForms 4.6

CloudForms and Ansible Integration

Red Hat CloudForms 4.6, as announced in the recent Press Release. One of the key highlights of the release is the introduction of Lenovo XClarity as the first physical infrastructure provider, enabling CloudForms to go beyond hybrid cloud management and manage hybrid infrastructure.

CloudForms 4.6 continues to build on the automation-centric approach to multi-cloud management that was introduced in 4.5, aligning with Red Hat’s vision to simplify IT management with Ansible’s powerful automation capabilities.

Additional enhancements focus on provider capabilities and usability. Let’s take a closer look at what’s new in CloudForms 4.6, and be sure to check back in on this blog for more detailed posts on many of these new capabilities in the coming weeks.

Red Hat Management Demos

New Lenovo XClarity Provider: enables CloudForms to discover and manage Lenovo physical compute infrastructure alongside virtual and multi-cloud through a single pane of glass.

Ansible Automation Inside:  
  • Call Ansible playbooks as methods in state machines, allowing for hybrid Ruby and Ansible orchestration.
  • Compute resource linking in services, providing visibility of Ansible deployed compute items.
  • Provide a foundational layer to curate Ansible modules, adding secure authentication for Ansible callbacks to CloudForms.
  • Support additional Ansible credentials, including OpenStack, Azure, Google, Satellite, Subversion, GitLab, as well as Ansible Networking.

Additional provider enhancements:  Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, Red Hat OpenStack, Red Hat Virtualization

Usability enhancements for the Administrative User Interface:
  • Dynamic Resource Objects to quickly add the capability to provision and collect data on resources not supported by Red Hat CloudForms
  • Prometheus Alert Management
  • New service editor for easier service design
  • Create custom buttons in the Administrative Interface for frequent actions

Operations User Interface:
  • Enhanced snapshot management with more views for increased visibility
  • Improved user experience for resource details
  • Enhanced service dialog with validation of dialog fields as you type and more tool tips
  • Create custom buttons in the Operations User Interface for frequent actions
  • Additional Operations User Interface customization options to meet customer requirements for branding and access control

Red Hat CloudForms 4.6

Red Hat CloudForms 4.6 builds on the automation-centric foundation to multi-cloud management introduced in CloudForms 4.5, including increased support for automated infrastructure provisioning and scaling of Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform and Red Hat Openstack Platform deployments. CloudForms 4.6 is designed to make more Ansible capabilities available natively within CloudForms, including the ability for CloudForms to execute Ansible playbooks and visibility and linking into Ansible-deployed compute resources.

Integrate Openshift with Cloudforms

Red Hat CloudForms 4.6 also introduces Lenovo XClarity as the first physical infrastructure provider, enabling CloudForms to go beyond hybrid cloud management and manage hybrid infrastructure. The new Lenovo XClarity provider enables CloudForms to discover and manage physical compute infrastructure alongside virtual and multi-cloud through a single pane of glass. This view helps deliver valuable insight to system administrators to determine on-premise capacity and analyze the impacts of infrastructure modifications on workload and control infrastructure maintenance.

This video demonstrates how you can take manual tasks and processes and turn them into automation workflows. In this video we utilize Red Hat CloudForms and Ansible Tower to provide an underlying automation and orchestration framework to deliver automation to your IT organization.

Containers, OpenShift, Kubernetes all with Red Hat CloudForms

The demonstration shows how a user can order a service and have automation provision and deliver the resources while tracking the elements in a ticketing system (ServiceNow).

At a high level, the following areas are demonstrated:
  • Ordering an instance inside CloudForms self-service portal
  • CloudForms auto approval and quota escalation features
  • Ansible Tower’s powerful and intuitive workflows
  • Integration into third party web services (ServiceNow and Microsoft Azure)

This technical presentation details the integration points and technical value of all 4 Red Hat® Cloud Infrastructure components: Red Hat Enterprise Linux® OpenStack® Platform, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, Red Hat CloudForms, and Red Hat Satellite. This session will also illustrate several different deployment scenarios that this flexible offering allows. In addition, you'll learn about common integration …Full session details here: https://www.redhat.com/en/technologies/cloud-computing/cloud-infrastructure and http://itinfrastructure.report/view-resource.aspx?id=958. and here https://www.openstack.org/videos/

The definitive OpenStack Map

Presenting the OpenStack map, the process that went through its creation, and the next steps.

Automating CloudForms Appliance Deployment with Ansible

Red Hat CloudForms ships as an appliance to simplify deployment as much as possible – a Red Hat Enterprise Linux server with the appropriate software loaded, ready to be configured with a few basic configuration options.

Traditionally, these servers are configured using the command line tool appliance_console. This is a simple, menu-based interface that allows you to configure the core functionality of the appliance and makes it exceptionally easy to do so. Unfortunately, menu-based interfaces don’t lend themselves to being automated easily.

However, there is a solution!

Openstack Cloud Management and Automation Using Red Hat Cloudforms 4.0

All CloudForms appliances ship with another tool called appliance_console_cli. We can combine this tool with an Ansible playbook to automate the configuration of our appliance(s).

Before we go further, take a look at the sample playbook located on Github. This playbook shows a simple scenario that configures two appliances:

A primary database in which we use a separate disk and configure an internal VMDB
A non-VMDB appliance which joins the region in the primary database.
The playbook sets some standard configuration for all the appliances – namely a common root password, and an appropriate hostname – then uses the appliance_console_cli tool through the Ansible shell module.

Let’s take a look at some of the key options available to appliance_console_cli, as of CloudForms 4.5. This isn’t an exhaustive list, so have a look at the help output of the command to see them all:

Server configuration options

–host: set the hostname for the appliance. Also updates your /etc/hosts – handy!
–ipaserver, –ipaprincipal, –ipapassword, –ipadomain and –uninstall: establish this host in an IPA realm, using the principal and password you provide. Note the principal must have the privileges needed to register the host and register a service.
–logdisk, –tmpdisk: specify the devices used for the log and tmp directories.

Database options

–region: the region for the appliance; needed when establishing a database
–internal: specify this if you want to create an internal database (i.e. you’re not connecting to a remote postgresql db)
–hostname, –port, –username, –password, –dbname: key details for your database. Without the –internal parameter, these are used to join your appliance to an external database.
–dbdisk: specify a device to use for the postgresql data directory. Very handy!

Preparing the appliance

–fetch-key, –sshlogin, –sshpassword: fetch the v2_key encryption key from a remote appliance with the provided SSH login credentials. All appliances connected to a VMDB need the same v2_key!

CloudForms 4.6 extends the commands of appliance_console_cli and brings it closer to feature parity with appliance_console. A major improvement is the ability to configure database replication on the command line, just by running different parameters on your primary and standby nodes. Super useful! This will be the focus of a future article, and I’ll extend the playbook to deploy two VMDB appliances in a primary/standby configuration.

What are you waiting for? Head to Red Hat Customer Portal and try out the CloudForms 4.6 Beta! General Availability is just around the corner…

Ansible Automation

Don’t forget, the upcoming release of CloudForms 4.6 brings improved embedded Ansible Automation Inside capabilities. If you are not familiar, Embedded Ansible has been a feature of CloudForms since version 4.5 and allows to store and execute Ansible playbooks from within CloudForms.

For example, Ansible Automation allows to execute a playbook as part of a Service Catalog request to configure provisioned VMs for the requester. Alternatively, a playbook can be executed when a user interface button is pressed, or in response to an event or alert.

Automating the Enterprise with CloudForms & Ansible

Ansible Modules and CloudForms

Ansible 2.4 provides Ansible modules to manage CloudForms: manageiq_provider and manageiq_user. These modules use the CloudForms REST API to automate the configuration of providers and users.

Combining these configuration modules and the playbook above allow to provision and configure CloudForms appliances, define users in the VMDB, and configure new providers – all in a single play!


Ansible is being embedded throughout all cloud software platform at Red Hat, and CloudForms is no exception. Keep an eye out for future posts in this series, where we will test drive some of the new features of appliance_console_cli in the upcoming 4.6 release.

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