Microsoft has released the latest preview for Windows Server users on the inside. Windows Insider Program members can download Windows Server Preview Build 17074 with a couple of important changes.

As the company points out, this is a preview for the next Annual Channel release of Windows Server. Microsoft runs Windows as a service these days. That means the company updates the platform Semi-Annually with two feature upgrades. These upgrades are when users get new features and tools.

In-between the Semi-Annual Channel releases, Microsoft sends out monthly patches. The now well-known monthly Patch Tuesday’s service to shore Windows against security problems and fix known issues.

In Preview Build 17074, Microsoft has made changes to the Storage Spaces Direct (S2D). The solution now supports Persistent Memory, bringing low latency storage. The company also points out SCSI Enclosure Services is no longer needed for S2D. This means new hardware can now be supported.

The second main change in Build 17074 is enhancements to Azure Failover Clusters. Additionally, Dedup support has been introduced for ReFS and Storage Spaces Direct.

Full Windows Server Preview Changelog

  • Storage Spaces Direct (S2D): In this preview build we continue to expand and simplify the hardware for Storage Spaces Direct.  SCSI Enclosure Services (SES) is no longer required for Storage Spaces Direct to be compatible, this unlocks a breath of new hardware which was not capable of running S2D.  Storage Spaces Direct now also supports Persistent Memory (aka. Storage Class Memory), this unlocks a new class of extremely low latency storage which is incredibly interesting in particular as a caching device.  Storage Spaces Direct now also supports Direct-connect SATA devices to AHCI controller, again this will expand the hardware ecosystem compatible with S2D as well as unlock a new class of low cost hardware.  In this preview we have also enabled the Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) Cache is enabled by default, which delivers an in-memory write-through cache that can dramatically boost VM performance.
  • Failover Clustering: In this preview we have introduced enhancements to Azure enlightened Failover Clusters, with enhanced eventing on host maintenance events and nodes about to be in host maintenance are excluded from placement.  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.
  • Dedup support for ReFS and Storage Spaces Direct

Windows Insiders can get this latest preview update by heading to the Windows Server Insider Preview download page.