Tag: Windows Insider

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Windows Insider - Insiders2Campus

Windows Insider – Insiders2Campus visit in Redmond

If you have been following on social media in the last couple of days, you might have seen that I had the chance to speak at different conferences and events like SCOM Day in Gothenburg and Cloud Camp in Dublin. I also had the possibility to visit the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, and meet with the Windows Insider team. I was one of the lucky winners of the Insiders2Campus contest this summer and as a price I had was able to meet with the Windows team.

I have been a Windows Insider for the first day, and I am always excited to try out new features and give feedback to the engineering teams. Having the chance to meet with the team behind the Windows Insider program, was a great opportunity. I was able to visit the Microsoft Campus a couple of times already, for example for the Microsoft MVP Summits. But the Windows Insider team organized some special visits on places I never really had access to before.

Microsoft Garage

We had the chance to visit the Microsoft Garage. The Garage is a resource to Microsoft employees that supports and encourages problem solving in new and innovative ways, ultimately empowering people to achieve more. It is also a great place for hackathons within Microsoft. This is the place where cool Microsoft products like Microsoft Launcher for Android and the Outlook plugin, FindTime were created.

Microsoft Treehouse

Another place which you need to visit if you are on the Microsoft Campus, is the Microsoft Treehouse office. The Treehouse is basically an outdoor meeting space in the trees.

Tom Microsoft HoloLens

As part of the Windows Insiders2Campus visit, we also had the chance to try out Microsoft HoloLens and other Microsoft products.

There was obviously a lot more to see, like the Microsoft Envisioning Center, the Surface Lab and much more. But the greatest thing really was to meet the team behind the products. Really big thanks to the Windows Insider team, which made this possible. I think this was an unforgettable experience and if you ever have the chance to visit the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, it is definitely worth a visit.

If you are interested becoming a Windows Insider for Windows 10, Windows Server or other products and services, check out the Windows Insider site.



Microsoft Edge WebP Image Extensions

Windows 10 adds WebP support for Microsoft Edge

Today Microsoft released a new Windows 10 insider Preview build 17692. After updating to this build you will be able to automatically download the WebP Extension for Microsoft Edge. This means Microsoft Edge now supports the Google Image format called WebP. WebP is Google’s alternative smaller image format to that of JPEGs or PNGs.

This is still only present in the Windows 10 preview builds and it looks like it will be available in the next Windows 10 update later this year.

WebP – A new image format for the Web

WebP is a modern image format that provides superior lossless and lossy compression for images on the web. Using WebP, webmasters and web developers can create smaller, richer images that make the web faster.

WebP lossless images are 26% smaller in size compared to PNGs. WebP lossy images are 25-34% smaller than comparable JPEG images at equivalent SSIM quality index.

Lossless WebP supports transparency (also known as alpha channel) at a cost of just 22% additional bytes. For cases when lossy RGB compression is acceptable, lossy WebP also supports transparency, typically providing 3× smaller file sizes compared to PNG.

WebP Support

WebP is natively supported in Google Chrome and the Opera browser, and by many other tools and software libraries. Developers have also added support to a variety of image editing tools.

WebP includes the lightweight encoding and decoding library libwebp and the command line tools cwebp and dwebp for converting images to and from the WebP format, as well as tools for viewing, muxing and animating WebP images. The full source code is available on the download page.

Source Google.



Windows Server Insider Preview Build 17074

Sneak Peak of Windows Server 1803 (RS4) – Windows Server Insider Preview Build 17074

Yesterday, Microsoft announced a new Windows Server Insider Preview Build (17074) which will be released as the next Semi-Annual Channel release for Windows Server. This release will likely be called Windows Server 1803 (Codename: Restone 4), which is aligned to the Windows Client releases.

Microsoft talked about improvements in the next Windows Server releases and the investments in Containers and Storage Spaces Direct at Microsoft Ignite 2017, and we already got some early Windows Server Insider Preview builds to see what is coming next. The official list is not to big right now, but we can expect Microsoft to add and announce more features in the comment weeks and months.

What is new in Windows Server 1803 (RS4)

  • Storage Spaces Direct (S2D)
    • Microsoft adds Data Deduplication support Storage Spaces Direct and ReFS
    • Microsoft removed the requirement for SCSI Enclosure Service (SES) on the hardware, which enables more hardware to work with S2D
    • Storage Spaces Direct adds support for Persistent Memory (Storage Class Memory), which brings very fast and very low latency storage to S2D. The prices for this devices is still pretty high, but we can expect this to change in the future and we can also see them as a great use as caching devices.
    • Storage Spaces Direct now also supports Direct-connect SATA devices to AHCI controller, which also make more hardware work with S2D
    • CSV Cache is now enabled by default, which delivers an in-memory write-through cache that can dramatically boost VM performance, depending on your workload.
  • Failover Clustering
    • Azure enlightened Failover Cluster – This is a very exciting feature if you run Windows Server Failover Clusters in Microsoft Azure. This feature will let the Windows Server cluster know if there is Azure host maintenance going on and will exclude the specific cluster node from placing workloads on it.

      By making high availability software running inside of an Azure IaaS VM be aware of maintenance events of the host, it can help deliver the highest levels of availability for your applications.

  • Container
    • Microsoft promised to add more Container feature and provide updated Windows Server Container Images. One feature which made it already into this and early Preview builds is a long waited feature which caused some confusion before. Developers can now use localhost or loopback (127.0.0.1) to access services running in containers on the host.
  • Other Improvements

As mentioned before we can expect Microsoft to add and announce new feature for the next Windows Server release in the next couple of weeks and months.

How to download the Windows Server Insider Preview

You can download the Windows Server Insider Previews from the Windows Server Insider Preview download page. If you are not yet an Insider, check out how to get one on the Windows Insider for Business portal.

Careful, this is pre-release software and it is not supported in production.

Test and Provide Feedback to Windows Server

For Microsoft it is very important that they get feedback about the latest releases. To send feedback use the Feedback Hub application in Windows 10, and choose the Server category with the right subcategory for your feedback.

 

 

 



Tar and Curl on Windows 10

Today Microsoft released Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17063 which includes a lot of great new features like Timeline, Activities, Microsoft Edge, Windows Subsystem for Linux improvements and much more. But Microsoft also included something for IT Pros and Developers. After the OpenSSH client and the OpenSSH server. Microsoft brings two new command-line tools for the Windows toolchain: curl and bsdtar. These tools are very well known tools in the open source world. Including them in Windows should make Windows even a better development platform.

 

Tar on Windows 10
Tar: A command line tool that allows a user to extract files and create archives. Outside of PowerShell or the installation of third party software, there was no way to extract a file from cmd.exe. We’re correcting this behavior 🙂 The implementation we’re shipping in Windows uses libarchive.

curl on Windows 10

Curl: Another command line tool that allows for transferring of files to and from servers (so you can, say, now download a file from the internet).

Why this, so first of all you have PowerShell which has similar functionality, but PowerShell is not always available (Think about Nano Server container images where you have not the Full .Net Framework available). Secondly Developers which come from other operating systems are already familiar with these tools and they can use, as they would on their “old” operating system.

If you want to know more, check out Craig Wihite’s (Microsoft) blog post: Tar and Curl Come to Windows!

As mentioned this is included in the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17063 and should ship to production customers in the next Windows 10 release, which might be Windows 10 (1803).



Linux on Windows 10

Crazy times – You can now run Linux on Windows 10 from the Windows Store

In the past weeks some really crazy things are happening. Think you’re way back in the time of 2003, could you have ever imagined that Microsoft offers you to run Linux on Windows 10? Well this is exactly what is happening in the past months.

With one of the Windows 10 releases Microsoft added the Windows Subsystem for Linux, which basically allowed you to run a Ubuntu version on your Windows 10 devices. In the past few days and weeks Microsoft now announced that you can now download and install SUSE Enterprise Server, openSUSE Leap and Ubuntu (my guess there will be more to come) from the Windows Store. All you need today is the latest Windows Insider Build 16237 (it also works with a couple of older insider builds), and you will be able to install these versions. For the mainstream, this will be available in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update arriving in the Fall of 2017. The Windows Subsystem for Linux will also be part in the next Windows Server RS3 release.

Ubuntu Windows 10 Store

If you want to know more about how it works check out Scott Hanselman blog about Ubuntu now in the Windows Store: Updates to Linux on Windows 10 and Important Tips

One great thing, Scott describes in his blog, if you want to configure the different Windows Subsystems for Linux and for example configure the default one, you can use the command line with the wslconfig utility.

WSLConfig on Windows 10

 



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.



Hyper-V Nested Virtualization

Hyper-V Nested Virtualization in Windows 10 Build 10565

This week Microsoft released a new Windows 10 Insider Preview build to the Windows Insiders. It brings a couple of new features to the OS, but Ben Armstrong (Hyper-V Program Manager at Microsoft) mentions in a blog post that it also brings a preview of Nested Virtualization to Hyper-V in Windows 10. Nested Virtualization allows you to run Hyper-V inside a VM. This is prefect for Lab and Training scenarios, so you can run multiple Hyper-V server without the need of a lot of physical hardware.

So how can you enable Nested Virtualization in this early preview build? Theo Thompson describes this in a blog post:

Step 1: Create a VM

Step 2: Run the enablement script

Given the configuration requirements (e.g. dynamic memory must be off), we’ve tried to make things easier by providing a PowerShell script.

This script will check your configuration, change anything which is incorrect (with permission), and enable nested virtualization for a VM. Note that the VM must be off.

Step 3: Install Hyper-V in the guest

From here, you can install Hyper-V in the guest VM.

Step 4: Enable networking (optional)

Once nested virtualization is enabled in a VM, MAC spoofing must be enabled for networking to work in its guests. Run the following PowerShell (as administrator) on the host machine:

Step 5: Create nested VMs

This is still a very early preview and this means this feature still has a lot of know issues:

  • Both hypervisors need to be the latest versions of Hyper-V. Other hypervisors will not work. Windows Server 2012R2, or even builds prior to 10565 will not work.
  • Once nested virtualization is enabled in a VM, the following features are no longer compatible with that VM. These actions will either fail, or cause the VM not to start:
    • Dynamic memory must be OFF. This will prevent the VM from booting.
    • Runtime memory resize will fail.
    • Applying checkpoints to a running VM will fail.
    • Live migration will fail.
    • Save/restore will fail.
  • Once nested virtualization is enabled in a VM, MAC spoofing must be enabled for networking to work in its guests.
  • Hosts with Virtualization Based Security (VBS) enabled cannot expose virtualization extensions to guests. You must first disable VBS in order to preview nested virtualization.
  • This feature is currently Intel-only. Intel VT-x is required.
  • Beware: nested virtualization requires a good amount of memory. I managed to run a VM in a VM with 4 GB of host RAM, but things were tight.