Microsoft reveals first Windows Server Insider Build

New software-defined and containerised toys, ahead of September's first full release

Microsoft's revealed the first fruits of its plan to deliver twice-yearly updates to Windows Server by revealing the first-ever Insider build of the OS.

Available here for users who register with a corporate Active Directory credential, Windows Server Insider Preview Build 16237 adds plenty of features that emphasises Microsoft's current mania for microservices, software-defined-everything and containers.

Among the additions The Register imagines users may find interesting are new features to let Hyper-V VMs access non-volatile memory, improved networking between containers and various optimisations that reduce the size of Windows Core by a fifth. Windows Nano Server is also smaller, as it's excised WMI, PowerShell, .NET Core, and the Servicing stack.

A new “Battery Passthrough” feature “let your VMs have the same battery state as the host they are on.”

Another notable addition is the application of Microsoft's shielded VMs security technology to Linux guests.

The release of the first Insider builds is significant because in September the features on offer will coagulate into Microsoft's first-ever release in Windows Server's “Semi-annual Channel”. That channel will see new releases of Windows Server appear twice a year, but with only eighteen months of support. Such releases will focus on cloud-and-container-centric uses. The “Long-Term Servicing Channel” will update every three years or so, mirroring Windows Server's current update cadence, and attract long term support.

Microsoft's also started to support Windows Server 2016 for its Azure Backup service that sees VMs mirrored to the cloud for either backup or failover. The update to Azure backup also adds supports for vSphere 6.5. ®

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