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New Windows Servers are like buses: None for ages, then two at once!

In-place upgrades arrive in Server 2019 and Semi-Annual, fonts sacrificed for containers

One of the previews is for the Windows Server vNext Long-Term Servicing Channel, aka Windows Server 2019. The other previews the Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel, the version that gets a release every six months but is only supported for 18 months.

Both previews receive “in-place OS upgrade” from Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, meaning you can upgrade to the previews without a fresh install of the OS. Plenty of IT pros of The Register’s acquaintance are leery of such upgrades, preferring to start again from scratch.

Microsoft’s known issues for this release include a warning that Domain Controllers mught not survive in-place upgrades “unless the NT Directory Service (NTDS) is stopped before initiating the upgrade. To ensure recoverability in the case of failure, back up any AD DC before performing an in-place OS upgrade.”

So such paranoia about in-place upgrades seems sensible.

Microsoft’s also proud of enhancements to Storage Spaces Direct, namely:

  • The Get-ClusterPerf cmdlet now includes self-diagnosis logic: if the cmdlet finds nothing to report, it now looks for common issues that would prevent performance history from working properly (for example, if its storage is missing) so that the cmdlet can provide clear error text.
  • New cmdlets, Start-ClusterPerformanceHistory and Stop-ClusterPerformanceHistory, that are provided in this build make it easy to remediate such issues by cleaning up and/or re-provisioning performance history.
  • New series, provided in this build, record how much Storage Spaces Direct data needs to repair/resync per server.

There’s also some trims to Server Core, the slimmer-for-containers version of Windows Server that has seen Microsoft change “non-critical font components into optional components (OC) in Windows Server Core editions, and then removed these OCs from Windows Server Core container images.”

“This change won’t affect the user experience of Windows Server Core, except that users now have the ability to enable or disable non-critical font components, like they can do for any other OC. For Server Core containers, only the default font, Arial, is supported; no other fonts are supported, and no others can be installed.” The effect of doing so is to shrink Windows Core to make it even smaller and therefore an even more lightweight environment in which to run containers.

A quick note: Arial only? Thank the Galactic Spirit Microsoft didn’t go for Comic Sans!

You can find both releases here. ®

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