Okay, quick rundown of most businesses’ IT playbooks: They run everything on a network; the network is quarterbacked by a machine called a server; the server distributes data to workers who receive it on their desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones; and those receivers run with it until they hit pay dirt!
Touchdown, business in the information age! But how does the quarterback make it all happen? How do servers handle data, keep it protected, and pass it around to users inside and outside the company? Answer: an operating system handles it.
Operating systems are like the server’s arms & legs, helmet & shoulder pads, fast-twitch muscles, and memory bank. Every server has one, because without it they wouldn’t be able to run any plays, and for nearly 50% of servers worldwide some version of Microsoft Windows Server is facilitating the quarterbacking.
Are you running Windows Server?
Today, businesses running Windows Server (WS) are probably using WS 2016 or WS 2012, although some nostalgists running legacy systems may still be using WS NT from 1993, when the Dallas Cowboys were Superbowl champs!
As of this March, due to stiff competition from Linux operating systems and a somewhat slipping market share, Microsoft introduced a preview of their latest, greatest WS build. Their hope is that Windows Server 2019 will turn small businesses’ servers into computer versions of Tom Brady.
And since Charles IT is a Microsoft Certified Partner, we’ve received an advance copy of WS 2019 to test internally, with its mainstream release expected by Q3 2018. Our initial impression is that WS 2019 is an operating system with several new features aimed at improving server security and efficiency, with some significant savings as a secondary benefit.
Like previous versions of Windows Server, WS 2019 emphasizes security, with features like Credential Guard and Device Guard. The former prevents user login information from ever being compromised, and the latter prevents serious malware infections from ever taking hold.
What’s new is something called “expect breach” functionality. Instead of simply providing cursory security features based on an assumption that firewalls along your network’s perimeter will keep everything out, Windows Server 2019 operates on an assumption that something has already been let in that could affect your hardware and software apps at the “quarterback” level.
This means your operating system is always on high alert, constantly assessing the areas most commonly breached, and adding yet another layer of protection -- which is always welcomed in the increasingly dangerous online world.
Server operating systems often employ something called containers, which “contain” an application’s software code, its data, and any other compute processes it requires to function. Each container is isolated from the rest of the server, like a compartment filled with all the resources it needs, wasting none and taking none from elsewhere on the server.
Since resources aren’t wasted, containerized operating systems allow servers to get maximum bang for the buck. With WS 2019, the containers are smaller and even more efficient than previous Windows Server releases, meaning even fewer resources are wasted and even more containers are possible.
And what do small-business owners love most about their IT infrastructures? Probably when opportunities arise to spend less money on hardware and software, which is what the more efficient containers in 2019 provide.
What would happen if you were to place the Boston Celtics starting five in front of Tom Brady and the rest of the Patriots backfield and asked them to block? It’s pretty clear that putting such dissimilar performers together wouldn’t work out so well.
That’s how things used to be for businesses that had a need for a Windows operating system and a Linux operating system concurrently. Even if features from both were desirable, you had to choose one or the other because they really couldn’t coexist.
But WS 2019 turns those Celtics players into capable teammates, so to speak. It includes improvements on WS 2016’s support for Linux functionality by including a subsystem that can handle a Linux operating system within the Windows environment. Which once again means fewer resources to purchase, fewer maintenance hassles, and increased flexibility.
All in all, our first thoughts on Windows Server 2019 are that these new features might make things easier for small businesses, and save them a bit of money. But there’s a lot more in store, so if you’d like to hear about it, give us a call at 860-344-9628. We’re the Joe Montana of technology providers and we have all the answers pertaining to