Rather then pitting Windows Server 2019 against Windows Server 2016 outright, we need to detail what additional features Server 2019 has compared to Server 2016. Performance wise? I haven't seen any real meaningful difference - but maybe it's more noticeable at a much larger scale such as a production environment.

Ultimately, the decision on what is better - Server 2019 or Server 2016 isn't going to made by me, but rather yourself. Just because it's new and shiny, doesn't mean it's the best for your domain. For example, Server 2019 does not have compatibility with Exchange 2016.

Windows Server 2019 is bleeding-edge, and with bleeding-edge, comes bleeding-problems - or things that can't exist in a production environment. It is fair to argue that if you are looking to start a cloud-based Windows Domain, 2019 is much more suited towards this. Conversely, if you want to stick to on-premises, stick to 2016. Although, it should be noted that Windows Server 2019 is classified as abstraction layer for Long-Term Servicing.

Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

Available on Windows 10 Professional, it is an opotional feature that integrates a Linux Operating System within the Windows 10 Operating System.

And yes! I can hear you typing already...It was pretty bad. In it's early days, it was notorious for it's slow I/O abstraction layer.

But, atleast as 1804's creators update, Microsoft have really really been pumping development and money into WSL. And I find it wonderful. VM's are still quicker, but WSL's development really is sky-rocketing.

Windows Server 2019 has the WSL abstraction layer built-in to it unlike its predecessor. The integration with WSL may not be a huge selling point now - but once it's refined and optimised, I think it could be a very integral and long-coming feature to the Windows Server family.

Windows Update Delivery Stack

Updating on Windows Server 2016 is just a headache. It's slow, It's garbage, it's got a large update base - SCCM end-clients time out. It's just blugh.

Micorosoft are introducting a new update design for the newest Windows 10 and Server families (E.g. 1804 onwards)

2019-03-30-17_42_46-What-s-next-for-Windows-10-and-Windows-Server-quality-updates---Microsoft-Tech-C
Source: Malhila Qureshi, Microsoft Tech Community

The graph looks promising, much quicker update times - but we have to remember it's a new release. It won't have anywhere near the amount of updates available such as Server 2016. So for now, updates are going to be much quicker - and in theory should stay that way for good. But time will tell as the Patch-Tuesdays revolve.

And of course ... Azure

Microsofts push of Azure is no whiffier elsewhere then in Server 2019. Promising a hybrid-cloud, allowing on-site Windows Servers to fully integrate with IoT Devices

I'm very oppinionated regarding the viability of converting your on-premesis domain to fully in the cloud. As such, I can't make a fair judgement here.

The release of Server Core App Compatibility Feature on Demand (FOD) adds a binaries found in the Desktop Exeperience such as:

  • File Explorer
  • Disk Management
  • Powershell
  • Failover Cluster Manager
  • Event Viewer
    (And more here)

To non-graphical installations that can be found on the Microsoft Azure platform. Improving day-to-day operability, whilst maintaining the resource efficiency of a non-graphical installation.

Azure Networking

Server 2019 has an Azure virtual adapter, which integrates fully with pre-existing networks on the Azure platform

Azure Backup and FileSync

Fully integrating with DFS Namespaces, Server 2019 integrates DFS to Azure's File Storage solutions, of which can be backed up in the Azure cloud via their Backup service.

Security

A very interesting feature of 2019, is the encryption of traffic between Hyper-V networked Virtual Machines.

Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP)

Whilst Server 2016 has this...if you could call it that, you could consider this a rendition of it... just on steroids. Before you grumble, yes it's Windows Defender. But! Windows Defender & Smartscreen these days is a ton better then alternative measures in such as Windows 7.

Comprising of four key components:

  • Attack Surface Reduction
  • Network Protection
  • Controlled Folder Access
  • Exploit Protection

Whilst Server 2016 had Application Control (or Code Integrity) Policies, it was poorly executed and just made making policies a ballache. Default policies for all kinds of services such as SQL Server are included in-the-box with Windows Server 2019. Microsoft listening to feedback? Well I never!

Finally, Windows Admin Center

Something I find very promising! This is something I want to experiement and play around with in a virtual windows domain, and will do!

Put simply, Server 2019 has Windows Admin Center installed alongside the Operating System, allowing the collation of various types of data ranging from CPU usage, to real-time network traffic on Windows Servers for remote monitoring from Windows 10 end-user Desktops.

Conclusion

Let me know, what are you using now? 2016, 2019? Do you plan to upgrade to 2019 - if so, why? If no, why not? Lets get social.