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A first look at the Windows Server 10 Technical Preview

Jonathan Hassell | Oct. 7, 2014
Windows 10 on the client side has a lot to answer for, given the panning of Windows 8 by large swaths of the Microsoft user base, but on the server side, Windows Server 10 seems in this preview release like a very solid march forward on all fronts.

Windows 10
Credit: Microsoft

On October 1, Microsoft released the technical preview of Windows 10 and, with much less fanfare, it also unleashed preview releases of Windows Server and System Center. Both server previews are available for download from the TechNet Server and Cloud blog.

I wanted to take a look at the Windows Server technical preview and discuss what we can glean from this release. With Microsoft being open to sharing this early build with the public -- rough edges, warts and all -- it would be improper to pass final judgment or even offer an evaluative opinion about what is currently in the software. We can speculate and offer some feedback, and I can help you decide whether Windows Server 10 is worth some of your time now to consider and get a feel for, but it is far too early to come to any binding conclusions about this product -- for me and for you.

Rather, I want to share what I see are improvements and disadvantages at this point, and give you the context to figure out if this is a release you should follow during its development, and also what you might have to look forward to.

Note: In this piece, I'm going to refer to the Windows Server Technical Preview as Windows Server 10, and the Windows client Technical Preview as Windows 10, just to make it easier to understand.

Big improvements
When you look at what is in this preview release, it is easy to say, "Wow, there's nothing monumental in here." While that is true, it may be true only for now. And to say that also does a disservice to the many incremental improvements that really do solve some pain points for shops, particularly around virtualization and storage. Consider the following benefits:

Hyper-V enhancements. You can now upgrade clusters that are running Hyper-V on a rolling basis, fixing a huge problem in earlier versions where all members of a cluster had to be running the same version of an operating system. This removes a big availability obstacle when deploying new versions of an operating system, and allows you to access the improvements Windows Server 10 will bring on an incremental basis, machine by machine and server by server.

You can also upgrade any of the members of a Hyper-V cluster or Scale-Out File Server running Windows Server 10 without any downtime for the hosted workloads, which ought to make people responsible for off-hours upgrades cheer. There is also support for secure boot for Linux virtual machines, and you can add virtual memory and virtual network adapters to generation 2 virtual machines running on Windows Server 10 without shutting down the virtual machines themselves (known as a "hot add").


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