What's new in Windows Server 2019

This topic describes some of the new features in Windows Server 2019. Windows Server 2019 is built on the strong foundation of Windows Server 2016 and brings numerous innovations on four key themes: Hybrid, Security, Application Platform, and Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI). To find out What's New in Windows Server, version 1809, see What's New in Windows Server, version 1809.

General

Desktop experience

The Desktop Experience is back in Windows Server 2019! It is not included in Windows Server, version 1709, Windows Server, version 1803, or Windows Server, version 1809.
As with Windows Server 2016, during setup of the operating system it is possible to choose between Server Core installations or Server with Desktop Experience installations.

System Insights

System Insights is a new feature available in Windows Server 2019 that brings local predictive analytics capabilities natively to Windows Server. These predictive capabilities, each backed by a machine-learning model, locally analyze Windows Server system data, such as performance counters and events, providing insight into the functioning of your servers and helping you reduce the operational expenses associated with reactively managing issues in your Windows Server deployments.

Hybrid Cloud

Server Core app compatibility feature on demand

The Server Core App Compatibility feature on demand (FOD) significantly improves the app compatibility of the Windows Server Core installation option by including a subset of binaries and components from Windows Server with the Desktop Experience, without adding the Windows Server Desktop Experience graphical environment itself. This is done to increase the functionality and compatibility of Server Core while keeping it as lean as possible.

This optional feature on demand is available on a separate ISO and can be added to Windows Server Core installations and images only, using DISM.

Security

Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP)

ATP's deep platform sensors and response actions expose memory and kernel level attacks and respond by suppressing malicious files and terminating malicious processes.

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 you to balance security risk and productivity requirements.

  • Attack Surface Reduction(ASR) is set of controls that enterprises can enable to prevent malware from getting on the machine by blocking suspicious malicious files (for example, Office files), 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 addresses through Windows Defender SmartScreen.

  • Controlled folder access protects sensitive data from ransomware by blocking untrusted processes from accessing your protected folders.

  • Exploit protection is a set of mitigations for vulnerability exploits (replacing EMET)that can be easily configured to protect your system and applications.

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 have built 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.

Security with Software Defined Networking (SDN)

Security with SDN delivers many features to increase customer confidence in running workloads, either on-premises, or as a service provider in the cloud.

These security enhancements are integrated into the comprehensive SDN platform introduced in Windows Server 2016.

For a complete list of what’s new in SDN see, What’s New in SDN for Windows Server 2019.

Shielded Virtual Machines improvements

  • Branch office improvements

    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.

    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.

  • Troubleshooting improvements

    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 Windows Server version 1803 or later.

  • Linux support

    If you run mixed-OS environments, Windows Server 2019 now supports running Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server inside shielded virtual machines.

HTTP/2 for a faster and safer Web

  • Improved coalescing of connections to deliver an uninterrupted and properly encrypted browsing experience.

  • Upgraded HTTP/2’s server-side cipher suite negotiation for automatic mitigation of connection failures and ease of deployment.

  • Changed our default TCP congestion provider to Cubic to give you more throughput!

Storage

Here are some of the changes we've made to storage in Windows Server 2019. For details, see What's new in Storage.

Storage Migration Service

Storage Migration Service is a new technology that makes it easier to migrate servers to a newer version of Windows Server. It provides a graphical tool that inventories data on servers, transfers the data and configuration to newer servers, and then optionally moves the identities of the old servers to the new servers so that apps and users don't have to change anything. For more info, see Storage Migration Service.

Storage Spaces Direct

Here's a list of what's new in Storage Spaces Direct. For details, see What's new in Storage Spaces Direct.

  • Deduplication and compression for ReFS volumes
  • Native support for persistent memory
  • Nested resiliency for two-node hyper-converged infrastructure at the edge
  • Two-server clusters using a USB flash drive as a witness
  • Windows Admin Center support
  • Performance history
  • Scale up to 4 PB per cluster
  • Mirror-accelerated parity is 2X faster
  • Drive latency outlier detection
  • Manually delimit the allocation of volumes to increase fault tolerance

Storage Replica

Here's what's new in Storage Replica. For details, see What's new in Storage Replica.

  • Storage Replica is now available in Windows Server 2019 Standard Edition.
  • Test failover is a new feature that allows mounting of destination storage to validate replication or backup data. For more information, see Frequently Asked Questions about Storage Replica.
  • Storage Replica log performance improvements
  • Windows Admin Center support

Failover Clustering

Here's a list of what's new in Failover Clustering. For details, see What's new in Failover Clustering.

  • Cluster sets
  • Azure-aware clusters
  • Cross-domain cluster migration
  • USB witness
  • Cluster infrastructure improvements
  • Cluster Aware Updating supports Storage Spaces Direct
  • File share witness enhancements
  • Cluster hardening
  • Failover Cluster no longer uses NTLM authentication

Application Platform

Linux containers on Windows

It is now possible to run Windows and Linux-based containers on the same container host, using the same docker daemon. This enables you to have a heterogenous container host environment while providing flexibility to application developers.

Building Support for Kubernetes

Windows Server 2019 continues the improvements to compute, networking and storage from the semi-annual channel releases needed to support Kubernetes on Windows. More details will be available in upcoming Kubernetes releases.

  • Container Networking in Windows Server 2019 greatly improves usability of Kubernetes on Windows by enhancing platform networking resiliency and support of container networking plugins.

  • Deployed workloads on Kubernetes will be able to use network security to protect both Linux and Windows services using embedded tooling.

Container improvements

  • Improved integrated identity

    We've made integrated Windows authentication in containers easier and more reliable, addressing several limitations from prior versions of Windows Server.

  • Better application compatibility

    Containerizing Windows-based applications just got easier: The app compatibility for the existing windowsservercore image has been increased. For applications with additional API dependencies, there is now a third base image: windows.

  • Reduced size and higher performance

    The base container image download sizes, size on disk and startup times have been improved. This speeds up container workflows

  • Management experience using Windows Admin Center (preview)

    We've made it easier than ever to see which containers are running on your computer and manage individual containers with a new extension for Windows Admin Center. Look for the "Containers" extension in the Windows Admin Center public feed.

Encrypted Networks

Encrypted Networks - Virtual network encryption allows encryption of virtual network traffic between virtual machines that communicate with each other within subnets marked as Encryption Enabled. It also utilizes Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS) on the virtual subnet to encrypt packets. DTLS protects against eavesdropping, tampering, and forgery by anyone with access to the physical network.

Network performance improvements for virtual workloads

Network performance improvements for virtual workloads will maximize the network throughput to virtual machines without requiring you to constantly tune or over-provision your host. This lowers the operations and maintenance cost while increasing the available density of your hosts. These new features are:

  • Receive Segment Coalescing in the vSwitch

  • Dynamic Virtual Machine Multi-Queue (d.VMMQ)

Low Extra Delay Background Transport

Low Extra Delay Background Transport (LEDBAT) is a latency optimized, network congestion control provider designed to automatically yield bandwidth to users and applications, while consuming the entire bandwidth available when the network is not in use.
This technology is intended for use in deploying large, critical updates across an IT environment without impacting customer facing services and associated bandwidth.

Windows Time Service

The Windows Time Service includes true UTC-compliant leap second support, a new time protocol called Precision Time Protocol, and end-to-end traceability.

High performance SDN gateways

High performance SDN gateways in Windows Server 2019 greatly improves the performance for IPsec and GRE connections, providing ultra-high-performance throughput with much less CPU utilization.

New Deployment UI and Windows Admin Center extension for SDN

Now, with Windows Server 2019, it’s easy to deploy and manage through a new deployment UI and Windows Admin Center extension that will enable anyone to harness the power of SDN.

Persistent Memory support for Hyper-V VMs

To leverage the high throughput and low latency of persistent memory (a.k.a. storage class memory) in virtual machines, it can now be projected directly into VMs. This can help to drastically reduce database transaction latency or reduce recovery times for low latency in-memory databases on failure.