First look at the Windows Server Technical Preview

    A few days ago, along with Windows 10 Technical Preview for Enterprise , a preliminary version of the new server, Windows Server Technical Preview, became available for download . Against the background of the “dozens,” the last event turned out to be less noticeable, but by no means less significant. Even in this rather early build, you can find many new features. And then we will talk about the most interesting of them from my subjective point of view.

    Let's start with the hypervisor.

    Hyper v


    Storage quality of service (QoS)


    For the first time in Windows Server 2012 R2, it was possible to set the maximum and minimum thresholds for IOPS of a specific virtual hard disk of a virtual machine. In the Windows Server Technical Preview, you can create a Storage QoS policy and apply it:
    1. to virtual hard drives of a specific VM;
    2. to the set of VMs on the basis of which the service is launched;
    3. to all VMs owned by a particular owner.

    Thus, it is possible to provide the required SLA for disk operations, for example, at the cluster level Scale-Out File Server (SOFS).

    Production Checkpoints


    Control points (checkpoints), they are snapshots (shapshots), they are also used images for a long time. Creating a production checkpoint involves using the Volume Snapshot Service (VSS) for the snapshot inside the VM. Restoring from such a snapshot ensures the correct, supported operation of business applications inside the VM. On servers with Windows Server Technical Preview, the production checkpoint is created by default, although it is possible to use the standard save state option.



    Integration Components with Windows Update


    For Windows guest OSs, integration component updates will be distributed through Windows Update. In hosted scenarios, this, in particular, means that the owner of the VM can control the versions of integration components for his VMs.

    Secure boot for Linux


    For Linux guest OSs supported in second-generation VMs , you can now use the secure boot option. Before starting such a VM for the first time, you must explicitly specify that it uses the Microsoft UEFI Certificate Authority. To do this, in PowerShell, run the cmdlet:

    Set-VMFirmware vmname -SecureBootTemplate MicrosoftUEFICertificateAuthority




    Hot add / remove network adapters. Hot add memory


    In the second generation VM, both Windows and Linux, hot add / remove network adapters is supported. In addition, in the second generation machines, you can add RAM on the go, even if dynamic memory is not enabled for the VM.




    VM configuration information versions


    Windows Server 2012 R2 introduced the ability to perform cross-platform dynamic migration (live migration), namely from Windows Server 2012 to Windows Server 2012 R2. But such migration is possible only in one direction. In the Windows Server Technical Preview, if you import or perform dynamic migration of VMs with Windows Server 2012 R2, the VM configuration files are not automatically updated. The first consequence of this is that you cannot take advantage of all the new hypervisor features for this machine. But second and more important - you can move VMs on the go between Windows Server Technical Preview and Windows Server 2012 R2 in any direction. If you no longer need to move the VM back to Windows Server 2012 R2, then you update the configuration information using, for example:

    Update-VmConfigurationVersion vmname

    and use all the benefits of the new hypervisor, but without the reverse migration.




    Failover clustering

    Cluster upgrade without downtime


    Cross-platform migration is a prerequisite for updating a failover cluster without downtime. Yes, you can now upgrade the nodes of a Windows Server 2012 R2 cluster without interrupting the services running on a Hyper-V or SOFS cluster. We migrate virtual machines from the node, update the OS on the node, add the node with Windows Server Technical Preview back to the Windows Server 2012 R2 cluster. And so sequentially with the rest of the nodes. While the upgrade process is in progress, the cluster is in Windows Server 2012 R2 mode. When all nodes are updated using

    Update-ClusterFunctionalLevel

    We increase the functional level of the cluster to the Windows Server Technical Preview.


    Remote Desktop Services


    Support for OpenGL and MultiPoint Services


    Remote Desktop Services supports the OpenGL 4.4 and OpenCL 1.1 API. You can also allocate more video memory, which is important in various VDI scenarios. I have not had time to try it myself yet, so I can’t write exactly “how many in grams”.

    In addition, the MultiPoint Services role is now part of the product, integrated with RDSH, and provides Windows MultiPoint Server functionality for sharing a single computer between multiple users.


    Storage services


    Storage replica


    Storage Replica (SR) is a new feature that implements block synchronous replication between servers. Thanks to SR, it is possible to implement various disaster tolerance scenarios and expand the capabilities of failover clusters to ensure high availability of applications and services. Synchronous replication allows you to mirror data on configured servers, preventing loss at the file system level. Asynchronous mode, which is also possible for SR, does not guarantee 100% data safety, however, it is applicable in many scenarios when the components of a highly accessible system are located in remote sites.

    There are no technical details on SR yet, but if you can’t wait, you can experiment with the new component and the corresponding cmdlets:





    A note for those who plan to look at the new hypervisor. In the current build, Hyper-V will not start if the processor does not support SLAT. You can check this point, for example, using the Coreinfo.exe utility (with the -v switch ) from the Sysinternals Suite . For example, there is no SLAT support in this processor; as a result, Hyper-V will not work.



    This is not all, but for the first review, it seems to me, you can stop.
    Although no, another point. Tiles They are not by default. But you can turn it on ... if you want. :)



    Successful experiments, which, I hope, you will not conduct in the production environment. :).

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