What’s new in Windows Server Azure Edition 2022

An image representing cloud servers.
Image: issaronow/Adobe Inventory

Home windows Server Datacenter: Azure Version isn’t a new edition of Home windows Server, but for Azure customers, it functions as a single. It’s an picture and version of Windows Server that is optimized to operate on Azure, providing a amount of new features that only function for Azure users.

SEE: The Crucial Microsoft Azure Certification Bundle (TechRepublic Academy)

This Azure-friendly technique to Windows Server has not too long ago acquired quite a few updates and is predicted to be more optimized in 2023 and past. In this report, we’ll include the newest attributes of Home windows Server Azure Edition and what you can hope to see in the in close proximity to upcoming.

Jump to:

What is Windows Server Azure Edition?

Microsoft Windows Server Datacenter: Azure Version is a person of the three principal variations of Windows Server 2022. The other two variations have significantly less of an Azure lean — Home windows Server 2022 Conventional and Home windows Server 2022 Datacenter. Azure Edition’s main differentiators include things like the Azure Extended Network, hotpatching, SMB above QUIC and Storage Duplicate compression. Or else, it shares quite a few similarities with Home windows Server 2022 Datacenter.

Making use of Azure Version does not essentially mean you can only operate it in the public cloud as of Oct 2022, you can also use it for digital equipment on an Azure Stack HCI cluster on your personal infrastructure mainly because that hardware is specified and managed like Azure community cloud.

You continue to simply cannot put Azure Edition on your personal servers or run it in Hyper-V or other hypervisors. You also can’t run it in other clouds mainly because it is optimized for Azure specifically.

Is Azure Version routinely updated?

Because it runs in the cloud, in which Microsoft can update hardware, software and providers more rapidly, Azure Edition receives new functionality substantially sooner than the Extended-Expression Servicing Channel releases that occur out each and every 3 decades.

Microsoft is promising a new release of Windows Server Azure Edition each and every yr, delivered through Windows Update fairly than as a new operating technique to which you would have to enhance your VMs. You can think of this approach as the alternative for the Semi-Once-a-year Channel releases of Home windows Server, which were being aimed at businesses that needed to shift much more rapidly by applying containers. Azure Stack HCI has taken more than that position, and you can operate Azure Version there as properly.

SEE: Microsoft Azure: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

Azure Version new releases will get to common availability in the slide of each and every 12 months, but you can try out new attributes in VMs starting off in the spring as portion of The Windows Insider Application previews. If you pick out to preview just before the slide launch cycle, Microsoft does caution that those people characteristics are however in advancement, are not all set for output workloads and are not confirmed to be included in the delivery model.

The current version is Windows Server 2022 Datacenter: Azure Edition, which now incorporates some options that had been in preview earlier in 2022. The current preview — Windows Server VNext Datacenter: Azure Edition — will have new attributes starting in Spring 2023.

New functions in Windows Server Azure Version 2022


When Microsoft patches the servers Azure operates on, it does not have to wait for them to shut down and reboot. Alternatively, it hotpatches them, which happens promptly enough that they do not even quit responding on the network.

This necessitates a whole lot of handle more than the components and particularly the drivers. There are also many variables for hotpatching to do the job nicely on the huge array of server hardware employed on-premises, but using Azure Automanage, you can implement security patches to Azure Edition VMs without the need of rebooting.

This also will work for Azure Stack HCI given that it operates on validated hardware, so Microsoft can test with the combinations of hardware and drivers that hotpatching will have to deal with. Now, hotpatching works with VMs that use the Azure Edition Core picture.

Transferring away from preview pictures

There are a lot of advancements to Azure Edition that don’t demand you to use preview photographs for the next launch. This is simply because they possibly come from updates in other products and solutions and solutions or simply because they’ve been added to the present Azure Edition by way of Home windows Update.

Entry to Azure networking functions

Azure Version VMs that use both Main or the Desktop encounter GUI can just take benefit of some Azure networking features like SMB above QUIC, which is the up coming generation of SMB with built-in compression and encryption. With this new feature, customers can make guaranteed their cloud file shares are as secure as they would be on their personal networks.

SEE: Home windows 11 cheat sheet: All the things you need to have to know (TechRepublic)

SMB about QUIC now will work on Azure Stack HCI as effectively as in Azure, which means you can move away from VPNs for supporting distant employees who use Windows 11, Home windows Server 2022 or third-bash purchasers for platforms like Android.

The QUIC customer is built into Windows 11, so end end users won’t see any change, but their connection will be in a TLS 1.3-encrypted tunnel over UDP port 443 alternatively than TCP 445. The QUIC server is only obtainable in Windows Server 2022 Azure Version.

SMB compression in Storage Duplicate

If you’re employing the Storage Replica characteristic to replicate volumes amongst servers or clusters for failover and catastrophe recovery, you could close up transferring significant quantities of facts about very long distances, involving data centers or to Azure. The September 2022 cumulative update now enables Azure Version end users to use SMB compression for asynchronous replication in Storage Replica, which is proving to significantly pace up the file transfer method.

Home windows Server Azure Version: 2023 new characteristics and over and above

Expanded hotpatching obtain

Hotpatching is at present readily available for VMs that use the Azure Version Main picture, but where by it would be most helpful is with the Desktop practical experience, since its added characteristics like the Explorer shell and Start off menu make it far more probably to require security patches and updates.

The VNext Azure Version previews that are coming in spring 2023 will consist of hotpatching VMs with Desktop experience they will not need to have to reboot for month to month stability updates. Although VMs will continue to have to restart a several situations a year to get a new baseline with a cumulative update, Microsoft estimates that this alter could acquire 12 reboots in a yr down to just 4 yearly reboots.

More certification-based protection

In Spring 2023, you will be equipped to include added customer certificates to protected SMB about QUIC. SMB above QUIC previously employs certificates on the file server that the SMB customer has to belief. However, this spring update will permit you demand purchasers to deploy a certificate as effectively in advance of they can connect, incorporating an supplemental layer of safety to the method.

Less difficult approaches to use SMB compression

At present, there isn’t a lot documentation on placing up SMB compression in Storage Duplicate. In the long term, users will be able to use the Home windows Admin Middle GUI to configure it in the exact way you can transform on SMB compression for typical file shares. But, for now, you need to use these PowerShell instructions to use the characteristic.

How to move to Home windows Server Azure Version on your non-public cloud

Swap certified cores

If you want to shift to Azure Stack HCI so you can use Azure Version VMs, but you’ve presently paid for Home windows Server Datacenter Software Assurance, Microsoft is waiving the typical host and membership expenses. This implies you can swap licensed cores to Azure Stack HCI without having paying out everything further and operate unlimited Windows Server guest workloads. For Azure Version, you will need to be employing Azure Stack HCI version 21H2 or 22H2 and have Azure Positive aspects enabled.

Azure Hybrid Benefit for Azure Stack HCI infographic including info on how to qualify and what benefits are available
Picture: Microsoft. Azure hybrid advantages let you shift to Azure Stack HCI at no added cost.

Use Azure Arc and Azure Marketplace

Use Azure Arc to deploy and manage VMs on Azure Stack HCI, and you can pull pictures, together with Azure Edition from the Azure Marketplace, to use for these VMs. You will want to use Arc-enabled management Preview 2 for this. Azure Stack HCI defaults to working with Azure Edition photographs created via the Market for new VMs, so those illustrations or photos get the positive aspects of hotpatching and SMB over QUIC.

Obtain ISOs of Azure Edition

You can also obtain ISOs of Azure Version for making new VMs or upgrading an present VM in place on Azure Stack HCI. The download isn’t limited in any way, so you can experiment with working it in a VM on other hardware if you never nonetheless have Azure Stack HCI components obtainable while, it’s not supported there. If you are applying an ISO for Azure Version, you will have to configure hotpatching your self rather than making use of Azure Automanage.

As with handling SMB compression for Storage Replica, this might get easier in the foreseeable future, but due to the fact Windows Server Azure Version is made to give you much more of the added benefits of Azure in your VMs, the Azure resources will normally be the easiest way to control it.

Home windows Server Azure Edition alternatives

Although there are no real possibilities to Windows Server that combine seamlessly with the Azure surroundings, several other working techniques and servers present related capabilities and capabilities to end users who do not need Azure-precise features.

In individual, open up-supply functioning techniques and servers are a excellent solution for customers who want supplemental customizability and solid user support communities. These are some of the best Home windows Server Azure Version possibilities to take into account:

  • TrueNAS
  • Ubuntu Linux
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server
  • Pink Hat Organization Linux

Study future: The 8 finest alternatives to Microsoft Project (Totally free & paid out) (TechRepublic)