The latest version of Microsoft’s server platform, Windows Server 10, won’t be officially available until summer. However, the industry’s been testing the preview version released last fall and it appears that the newest iteration will build nicely on the positive changes introduced in Windows Server 2012, particularly when it comes to PowerShell, HyperV, networking and storage quality.
Here’s a look at what to expect when Windows Server 10 hits the market.
Microsoft’s dithering over start screens and start menus isn’t an issue in the new server platform. Thankfully, Windows Server 10 features a new version of the familiar start menu which is functional and easy to use. More importantly, multitasking is simpler than ever; you’re able to create separate virtual desktops, as well as create four separate sections of the screen which can display four different windows at the same time.
The new PowerShell 5 finally includes package management capacity through the OneGet feature, and also allows you to manage all network switches directly from PowerShell. Additionally, it now includes the ability to easily manage all zip files natively, and support for developing with classes has been added.
If you choose to manage from the command line, there’s a major improvement in Windows Server 10. Copy and paste into the command line in Windows Server 2012 often creates unexpected characters in the text; in the new version of the platform, those incompatible characters are changed automatically into equivalents which can be understood on the command line.
Microsoft has said that the final version will give server admins more control over permissions for higher-level users, and apparently this welcome feature will be based on the Just Enough Admin (JEA) feature of PowerShell.
This new role in Windows Server 10 provides an impressive new ability to automatically configure virtual and physical networks, building on and simplifying the improved complex virtualization introduced in Server 2012.
Microsoft has taken major steps forward in this new release with the functionality of its Hyper-V platform. There is a new format for file configuration which should be safer and more efficient, guarding against the corruption of data during transfer. You’re able to make virtual machine changes during a process, because memory and virtual network adapters are now hot-swap capable. New backup features allow for the creation of point-in-time snapshot checkpoints. Connected standby is now supported for VMs. And finally, the Hyper-V Manager has been souped-up. The company has obviously devoted major resources to growing the capabilities of Hyper-V, and it shows.
Among the new features in Windows Server 10 are better response management and enhanced logging for the DNS Server role, and the enabling of GRE (generic routing encapsulation) for the Windows Server Gateway.
There are two big upgrades here: Storage Replica gives the platform block-level replication and can be used to construct strong multi-site clusters, and Storage Quality of Service (QoS) policies can be assigned to several virtual disks, in order to prioritize them and maximize overall performance.
There are many more improvements in Windows Server 10, including reverse proxy capability for external clients, enhanced management of IP address space, and native MultiPoint Services. It’s important to remember, though, that these changes have only been seen in the preview release; some features may be different when the final version is released this summer.