Category: Windows 10

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Windows Server Semi-annual Channel Overview

What is next for Windows Server and System Center with a faster release cadence

A couple of weeks ago at the Microsoft Build Conference, Microsoft released some new information about what is coming in the next version of Windows Server like Linux support on Hyper-V Container and much more. Today Microsoft just announced some new details about the next Windows Server releases and how they will work. The biggest change of todays announcement that Windows Server and System Center will also move to the Semi-annual Channel, just like Windows Client and Office moved to the Semi-annual Channel release cycle. The other large announcement is that Microsoft focuses Nano Server on Container and will remove support Nano on Hosts and Virtual Machines. This means you can run Nano Server only as a Windows or Hyper-V Container.

Nano Server is only supported as a Container Image

Microsoft is removing support for the Nano Server operating system running on physical hardware or inside Virtual Machines. Nano Server will be only supported as a Container Image. Windows Server Core will be the preferred installation option for your infrastructure servers like Hyper-V or Storage Spaces Direct.

This next release will focus on making Nano Server the very best container image possible. From these changes, customers will now see the Nano Server images shrink in size by more than 50 percent, further decreasing startup times and improving container density. As part of this effort to focus on containers, we will be removing the functionality for infrastructure-related roles. Instead of using Nano Server for these scenarios, we recommend deploying the Server Core installation option, which includes all the roles and features you would need.

Windows Server Servicing Channel

As mentioned Microsoft will offer Windows Server updates in the Semi-annual Channel as well as in the Long Term Servicing Channel for Nano Server Container Images as well as Windows Server Core.

There will be two primary release channels available to Windows Server customers, the Long-term Servicing Channel, and the new Semi-annual Channel.

Long-term Servicing Channel

The Long-term Servicing Channel is the release model you’re already familiar with (currently called the “Long-term Servicing Branch”) where a new major version of Windows Server is released every 2-3 years. Users are entitled to 5 years of mainstream support, 5 years of extended support, and optionally 6 more years with Premium Assurance. This channel is appropriate for systems that require a longer servicing option and functional stability. Deployments of Windows Server 2016 and earlier versions of Windows Server will not be affected by the new Semi-annual Channel releases. The Long-term Servicing Channel will continue to receive security and non-security updates, but it will not receive the new features and functionality.

Semi-annual Channel

The Semi-annual Channel releases will deliver new functionality for customers who are moving at a “cloud cadence,” such as those on rapid development cycles or hosters keeping up with the latest Hyper-V investments. Windows Server products in the Semi-annual Channel will have new releases available twice a year, in spring and fall. Each release in this channel will be supported for 18 months from the initial release.

Most of the features introduced in the Semi-annual Channel will be rolled up into the next Long-term Servicing Channel release of Windows Server. The editions, functionality, and supporting content might vary from release to release depending on customer feedback.

The Semi-annual Channel will be available to volume-licensed customers with Software Assurance, as well as via the Azure Marketplace or other cloud/hosting service providers and loyalty programs such as MSDN.

Windows Insider Program

At Microsoft Build, Microsoft also announced that Windows Server will be part of the Windows Insider Program, and you will see the first preview builds this summer.

System Center

in the first Semi-annual Channel release from System Center, the team will focus on System Center Operations Manager, Virtual Machine Manager, and Data Protection Manager. The key areas of investment will include support for Windows Server and Linux, enhanced performance, usability and reliability, and extensibility with Azure-based security and management services. Which will bring features like Nested Virtualization support, software load balancing, Storage QoS Self-Service and management support for heterogeneous environments with improved Linux monitoring using a FluentD agent as well as VMware backup. System Center Configuration Manager will continue to offer three releases a year to give you the latest updates for managing servers, PCs, and mobile devices.

Conclusion

This changes will improve the release cadence of datacenter and cloud innovation dramatically. Customers like service providers will have the chance to update their offerings much more often which allows them to add new features and functionality. But there is choice for customers who need a stable and not fast moving environment they can deploy builds from the Long-term servicing channel, which will have long term support. With that you should be able to choose the best solution for your environment and workload.



HoloLens

Speaking at E2EVC 2017 Prague

I’m happy to speak at the Experts 2 Experts Virtualization Conference in Prague this year. This will be my 10th E2EVC, I was speaking in many events since 2012 in cities like Rome, Hamburg, Dublin, Copenhagen, Brussels and many more. So I am really happy to speak at this event again. This time I will talk, together with Isidora Katanic, about HoloLens and show some technical background to the device and what Microsoft is doing in VR and AR with Windows Mixed Reality.

HoloYolo

Learn more about HoloLens, the device and VR and AR in Windows Mixed Reality.

E2EVC Virtualization Conference is a non-commercial, virtualization community event. The main goal of the E2EVC is to bring the best virtualization experts together to exchange knowledge and to establish new connections. E2EVC is a weekend crammed with presentations, Master Classes and discussions delivered by both virtualization vendors product teams and independent experts. I am happy to be part of the community and listen to other industry leading experts.

I am looking forward to the E2EVC and hopefully see you in Prague.

 



ITCampRO

Speaking at ITCamp 2017 in Cluj-Napoca

This week I am speaking at MMS MOA 2017 in Minneapolis and I am proud to announce that I will speak next week at ITCamp in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, for the second time after 2016. I already was speaking at the ITCamp 2016 and I am happy to be a speaker again this year. You will find a lot of interesting topics and experts to talk to.

In two sessions I will talk about:

The best of Hyper-V

Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V introduced a huge amount of new features. Come to this session to learn about what we have actually been doing with Window Server 2016. Gain insight into what features and functionality you can utilize quickly to get an immediate benefit from using Hyper-V on Windows Server 2016.

The best of Windows Server 2016

Join this session for The Best of Windows Server 2016 — The New Foundation of your Datacenter. You’ll get an overview about the new, exciting improvements that are in Windows Server 2016 and how they’ll improve your day-to-day job. In this presentation Thomas Maurer (Microsoft MVP) will guide you through the highly anticipated innovations including: •Hyper-V 2016 features •Nano Server •Storage Spaces Direct •Storage Replica •Windows Server Containers •And more!

Hopefully see you there!



Azure Nested Virtualization

Hyper-V Container and Nested Virtualization in Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines

Last week Microsoft announced some pretty cool new Azure Stuff, like the Azure Cloud Shell, Azure PowerShell 4.0, Azure Cosmos DB and much more.

In the session about Azure Compute, Microsoft introduced a bunch of new features, like new VM sizes, new experiences and new integration technology as well as updates to Azure Service Fabric, Azure Container Service and Azure Functions. One which really got my interest was the announcement about the new Virtual Machines sizes for Dv3 and Ev3, which will enable customers to use Virtualization inside their Windows Server Virtual Machines on Azure, enabled by Nested Virtualization from Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V. With that Dv3 and Ev3 Azure Virtual Machines are Nested Virtualization enabled.

Azure Nested Virtualization and Hyper-V Containers

You can now run Hyper-V in Azure Virtual Machines and even more important you can now run Hyper-V Container inside Azure Virtual Machines. With the announcements for Windows Server 2016 supporting Hyper-V Containers running Linux and Windows Server this is great news. You will be able to create Container Hosts in Azure running Windows Server and create Windows and Linux Containers on the same Container Host.

Azure VM Sizes

By the way, if you want to run Hyper-V Container in Azure today, and you don’t want to wait until the Dv3 and Ev3 series are available you can run them inside Azure Service Fabric. So yes, Microsoft now allows you to run Hyper-V Containers in Azure Service Fabric.

Azure Nested Virtualization Demo

As you could see in the demo, they are offering quite large Virtual Machines with a lot of RAM, running on Intels Xeon E7 CPUs.



MMS 2015

Speaking at the Midwest Management Summit 2017

I am proud to travel to the US tomorrow to speak at the MMS MOA 2017. The Midwest Management Summit is held in the Mall of America in Minneapolis and I have been there speaking for the past 3 years now from the first one at MMS 2014, second one at MMS 2015 and the last one just last year at MMS 2016. I am proud to be select as a speaker again this year.

The Midwest Management Summit is a 4-day conference purposely capped to just 750 attendees so that nobody gets lost in the crowd. Speakers have time to meet and talk to you. No rushing people out of a session to get the next speaker going. Time to absorb what you see and talk it over with speakers and other attendees. A true learning experience. Real networking. Real-life issues discussed.

This year I will be speaking in 3 different sessions mostly about Windows Server 2016, Nano Server, Hyper-V, Azure and Containers. And I am also proud to speak together with Samuel Erskine (Microsoft MVP) and John Joyner (Microsoft MVP). We have some exiting new stuff to share with the attendees, hopefully see you in the Mall of America!

The best of Windows Server 2016

Join this session for The Best of Windows Server 2016 – The New Foundation of your Datacenter. You’ll get an overview of the new, exciting improvements that are in Windows Server 2016 and how they’ll improve your day-to-day job. In this presentation Thomas Maurer (Microsoft MVP) will guide you through the highly anticipated innovations including: Hyper-V 2016 features, Nano Server, Storage Spaces Direct, Storage Replica, Windows Server Containers, and more!

Getting Started with Windows Containers, Docker and Azure

In Windows Server 2016 Microsoft released their first version of Windows and Hyper-V Containers. In this session you will get an overview of how containers work and how you can use them for your deployments , as well as how you can get started with Containers and Docker on Windows 10, Windows Server or on Microsoft Azure.

Nano Server - The Future of Windows Server

Nano Server is the future of Windows Server. With Nano Server Microsoft created the foundation for Windows Server for the future. In this session you will get an overview about Nano Server and see some great live demos of how you can deploy, manage and operate Nano Server as well as creating applications for it. Get a better understanding of Nano Server and see how you deploy, manage and operate it.



PowerShell for Visual Studio Code

PowerShell for Visual Studio Code 1.0 – Your improved PowerShell ISE

Microsoft yesterday not only announced the new Azure Cloud Shell, Azure PowerShell 4.0, they also announced something I was waiting for a long time. Microsoft finally announced the version 1 of the PowerShell for Visual Studio Code with a lot for great enhancements. David Wilson describes this on the PowerShell Team blog.

This supports the PowerShell development on the following platforms:

  • Windows 7 through 10 with PowerShell v3 and higher
  • Linux with PowerShell v6 (all PowerShell-supported distributions)
  • macOS and OS X with PowerShell v6

Features:

  • PowerShell ISE-like interactive development experience with the PowerShell Integrated Console
  • Rich debugging experience including variables view, call stack, watch window, and various breakpoint types
  • Integrated script analysis and code fixes provided by PSScriptAnalyzer
  • Code navigations that allow you to find definitions and references of functions across your script files
  • Highly configurable code formatter based on community best practices
  • New file and project creation using Plaster templates
  • Editor scripting API through the $psEditor object model

The biggest thing about this for me, is the support to run code line by line, which will help a lot in demos and presentations.

So what does this mean for the PowerShell ISE?

The PowerShell ISE has been the official editor for PowerShell throughout most of the history of Windows PowerShell. Now with the advent of the cross-platform PowerShell Core, we need a new official editor that’s available across all supported OS platforms and versions. Visual Studio Code is now that editor and the majority of our effort will be focused there.
However, the PowerShell ISE will remain in Windows supporting Windows PowerShell with no plans to remove it. We will consider investing effort there in the future if there is a high demand for it, but for now we think that we will be able to provide the best possible experience to the PowerShell community through Visual Studio Code.

Really looking forward to work with PowerShell for Visual Studio Code.



Hyper-V Windows Containers

Windows Server news from Microsoft Build 2017 – It is all about Container!

Microsoft is just running their annual Developer Conference call Build with some interesting news for developers on Azure, Database Servers, Visual Studio, PowerShell, .NET and much more. But Microsoft also had some interesting things to share about the future of Windows Server. In a blog post, Erin Chapple, General Manager Windows Server, shared some information what Microsoft is doing in the Windows server space and about the next first feature release which will be aligned with the Windows 10 Client Operating System and will be released this Fall.

Windows Server is joining the Windows Insider program – Microsoft will start releasing regular Windows Server Insider builds including container images, which will be available to all Windows Insiders.

Container-optimized Nano Server – The Windows Server team has closely partnered with he .NET Team to bring the .NET Core 2.0 work to Windows Containers with an optimized container image based on Nano Server. This will reduce the footprint of the .NET container image by 50 percent, which will also reduce startup time as well as density improvements.

Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) on Windows Server – At DockerCon Keynote we demonstrated a Linux container running natively on Windows Server. To enable this, the Windows Server team worked to bring the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), also know as bash on Windows 10, to Windows Server. Together with Hyper-V isolation technology, the WSL will allow users to run Linux Containers on a Windows Server Container Host. The great thing here, there is also a choice on the Linux kernel, which will allow you to run different Linux distributions as containers.

Container Orchestration – Microsoft works with different container orchestration technologies, such as Docker swarm and Kubernetes to bring support for Windows Server Containers.

Container Storage – In Windows Containers you could use locally mounted volumes to store persistent data. As another investment in Containers, Microsoft is adding the ability to map SMB file-based storage directly into a container.

Starting this summer, Microsoft will begin to post early builds of the new Windows Server features, including container-optimized Nano Server images to the Docker Hub, support for Linux containers, Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), better orchestration support and SMB storage for containers in the Windows Insider program.

Aligned with the next release of Windows 10, these new features will be delivered as part of our first feature release this Fall. It will be available to customers with Software Assurance who commit to a more frequent release model. For customers who prefer the long-term servicing branch (LTSB) these features will be part of the next major release of Windows Server.