Microsoft kicked off its Ignite 2018 partner conference yesterday with plenty of announcements, such as the general availability of Office 2019. Also moving to general availability is Windows Server 2019, coming to everyone in October.

The newest version of Microsoft’s server-based operating system will come in three editions: Standard, Datacenter, and the small business-focused Essentials. We’ll touch on the importance of that last edition soon, but let’s first look at what Windows Server 2019 brings to organizations.

Firstly, Microsoft says System Center 2019 will not be arriving next month with Windows Server 2019. This is the company’s suite of tools for managing Windows Server, although it won’t reach general users until “the first half of calendar-year 2019.”

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While Windows Server 2019 will add plenty of new features, Microsoft is taking an evolutionary approach. Indeed, the company says the latest version “builds on the foundation of Windows Server 2016.”

Still, there’s plenty of new tools and abilities in the 2019 edition, which have been previewed by Microsoft in recent months. Back in June, the company described how the latest Windows Server iteration is focused on four core areas: security, application support, hyperconverged infrastructure, and hybrid support.

Hyrid Support

Hybrid is a big part of Microsoft’s plans for Windows Server. At Ignite, the company discussed how powerful the suite will be. It allows organizations to merge their own infrastructure with public cloud services. Microsoft is leveraging its Windows Admin Center as the core hub for controlling hybrid. Users get direct access to cloud services such as Azure File Sync and Azure Backup.

Also on the table for Windows Server 2019 is security. Microsoft wants organizations to feel secure and has laid down some powerful tools to help ensure protection. Among them is Shielded Virtual Machines, which prevents VM files from being copied. Also noteworthy is the integration of Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection.

Other Changes

In a blog post to accompany the Ignite reveal, Microsoft detailed two other major additions to the Server package:

“Application Platform: In Windows Server 2019, we reduced the Server Core base container image to a third of its size. We also provide improved app compatibility, support for Service Fabric and Kubernetes. And support for Linux containers on Windows to help modernize your apps.

Hyper-converged Infrastructure (HCI): HCI is one of the latest trends in the server industry today. It is primarily because customers understand the value of using servers with high performant local disks to run their compute and storage needs at the same time. In Windows Server 2019, we democratize HCI with cost-effective high-performance software-defined storage and networking that allows deployments to scale from small 2-node, all the way up to 100s of servers with Cluster Sets technology, making it affordable regardless of the deployment scale.”

Windows Server Essentials

As mentioned, there is plenty of importance around the Essentials edition of Windows Server 2019, albeit because of future consequences. Microsoft has confirmed the 2019 edition of Essentials will be the last to cater to small businesses of 50 devices or under, or 25 users and under.

To replace Essentials, Microsoft will point users towards its Microsoft 365 bundle subscription product.

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