Windows Server 2019 will be generally available in the second half of calendar year 2018 and you can already access the preview build through Microsoft's Insiders program.
Windows Server 2019 is built on the foundation of Windows Server 2016.
Moving to the cloud is often a hybrid approach, one that combines on-premises and cloud environments working together. Extending Active Directory, synchronizing file servers, and backup in the cloud are just a few examples of what Microsoft's 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 Artificial Intelligence and IoT. Hybrid cloud is playing a central role in Microsoft's cloud strategies for the foreseeable future.
At Ignite in September 2017, Microsoft announced the Technical Preview of Project Honolulu - a new 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 Microsoft's 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, Microsoft's customers will be able to 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.
In terms of xecurity, Microsoft brings new features in all three areas in Windows Server 2019.
On the Protect front, Microsoft introduced Shielded VMs in Windows Server 2016. 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. Microsoft is also extending VMConnect to improve troubleshooting of Shielded VMs for Windows Server and Linux.The company is 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, Microsoft is 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 Microsoft's customers access to deep kernel and memory sensors, improving performance and anti-tampering, and enabling response actions on server machines.
Two key aspects to call out for the developer community are improvements to Windows Server containers and Windows Subsystem on Linux (WSL).
In Windows Server 2019, Microsoft's 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.
Microsoft is 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, Microsoft is introducing improvements to compute, storage, and networking components of a Kubernetes cluster.
Microsoft previously extended Windows Subsystem on Linux (WSL) into insider builds for Windows Server, so that the company's customers can run Linux containers side-by-side with Windows containers on a Windows Server. In Windows Server 2019, Microsoft improves 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: using x86 servers with high performant local disks to run compute and storage needs at the same time. In addition, HCI gives the flexibility to easily scale such deployments.
In Windows Server 2019 Microsoft is adding the ability to manage HCI deployments in Project Honolulu, to simplify the management and day-to-day activities on HCI environments.
Finally, System Center 2019 is coming and will support Windows Server 2019.
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.