If you haven't heard yet, the next release of Windows Server is in fact Windows Server 2019. Right now it is in it's preview phase and you can grab a copy of it from Windows Insider. You do have to sign up but it is free and once you do you can grab the ISO or a virtual hard drive and test it out. With that being said, I threw together a quick install guide and surprisingly it is just like installing Windows Server 2016.
Once you boot the ISO you will come to a very familiar screen if you have ever installed Windows Server:
If everything looks good go ahead and click Next
Click the Install now button
If you have an Activation Key, go ahead and enter it in here and click Next, otherwise you can click I don't have a product key to continue
At this screen you can choose Standard or Datacenter and whether or not you want the standard GUI interface. Choose your poison and click Next
Go ahead and accpet that license agreement and click Next
Click on Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)
For me I just click Next but if you have multiple drives you will want to select the appropriate drive and you can also setup partitions and other stuff if you do have more than one drive listed here.
Windows will begine installing all the necessary bits and will reboot your server. On my install it rebooted twice but not sure if that is normal or because I am using VMware Workstation 14.
Server is doing its boot up thing
Enter in a password for the default Administrator account and click Next
You will then come to a very familiar login screen if you have ever logged into a Windows Server 2016 machine, go ahead and do the Ctrl+Alt+Delete and enter in your admin password
Still looking familiar? I thought so too. So far 2019 looks exactly like 2016.
And here is a familiar looking Start Menu
My first impression is that it looks and feels just like 2016. Not entirely a bad thing as interface changes brings the worst out in us. So I am thankful they didn't change the look and feel. So what is new with this release? Good question and here are some highlights.
Hybrid Clouds: This seems to be the focus of everyone from Microsoft to VMware. It is all about extending on-premise into the cloud and 2019 Server is built with that in mind. The thought is for on-premise and cloud to be seemless and working together in perfect harmony.
Security: Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection is embedded into this build to protect you from exploits.
Application Platform: This is all about containers. Containers is a subject I am not all that familiar with but it is a big deal and Microsoft is doing its best to keep up.
Hyperconverged Infrastructure: This is all about the Software Defined Datacenter and moving away from your traditional 3-tier infrastructure stack of Server-Networking-Storage into a simpler to manage design that leverages software to manage these components on the server. Pretty neat stuff and is all the rage.
You can read all about it here of course.