Windows Server 2022 Announced at General Availability

Windows Server 2022 was announced by Microsoft as reaching the "general availability" (GA) stage on Wednesday, meaning it's deemed ready for deployment in production environments.

Organizations have both Core and Desktop installation options for all editions of the product. Windows Server 2022 follows Microsoft's traditional Fixed Lifecycle Policy, with five years of "mainstream" support and five years of "extended" support.

The product update cycle for Windows Server 2022 follows the long-term servicing channel, with new product releases occurring every two to three years. Microsoft earlier this year ended its semiannual channel update option for all Windows Server products.

Windows Server 2022 supports in-place upgrades from Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server 2016, a Microsoft spokesperson clarified, via a Thursday e-mail.

Windows Server IoT 2022 GA
Microsoft also announced the GA of Windows Server IoT 2022 on Sept. 1.

Microsoft is emphasizing dedicated-use scenarios for Windows Server IoT 2022 and offers the product in six editions. The capabilities of Windows Server IoT 2022 are much like those Windows Server 2022. However, licensing just occurs via original equipment manufacturers.

There won't be an Essentials edition of the product, the announcement indicated.

"Note that we will no longer have an Essentials version for Windows Server IoT 2022," Microsoft stated. "You can learn more about the other available versions of Windows for IoT here."

Windows Server 2022 GA
The Windows Server 2022 product actually is shown as reaching the GA stage earlier, on Aug. 18, per Microsoft's lifecycle support page.

That Aug. 18 GA date apparently was picked so that Windows Server 2022 would hit product end on an "update Tuesday" date (the second Tuesday of a month), according to an explanation by Arpan Shah, general manager of Azure. His full statement is captured in this ZDNet article by journalist Mary Jo Foley.

The Sept. 1 date marked GA for all customers, the spokesperson explained:

We announced Windows Server on September 1, when it became generally available to all customers, including new customers. Only customers who already had Windows Server were able to download the new Windows Server on 8/18.

Foley also discovered that Microsoft isn't planning on releasing a Hyper-V Server 2022 product. The 2019 version of the product is the last of its kind. Microsoft wants those customers to switch to using Azure Stack HCI instead.

Just the free Hyper-V Server 2019 product will be going away, but it's supported until Jan. 2029. Hyper-V is included in Windows Servers, though, the spokesperson explained.

With the release of Windows Server 2022, Hyper-V is included as an in-box role in Windows Server 2022 Datacenter, Standard, and Essential editions, as it has been with for previous releases for more than a decade.

Windows Server 2022 Editions
Windows Server 2022 is currently offered in three editions -- Datacenter, Standard and Essentials -- according to Microsoft's pricing page.

The Datacenter edition of Windows Server 2022 is for "highly virtualized datacenters and cloud environments," priced at about $6,155. The Standard edition is for "physical or minimally virtualized environments," priced at about $1,065. The Essentials edition is for "small businesses with up to 25 users and 50 devices," priced at about $501.

The Essentials edition is the only offering listed that does not bear Client Access Licensing (CAL) costs. When CALs are required, every client needs to have CAL license to access servers.

Differences between the Standard edition and the Datacenter edition of Windows Server 2022 are called out in the pricing page.

A server licensed under Standard edition can only run two operating system environments (OSEs) or virtual machines. The Datacenter edition can run unlimited OSEs or virtual machines. The Standard edition just supports a "single Storage Replica volume up to 2TB," whereas Datacenter edition has full Storage Replica support. The Standard edition also lacks software-defined networking and software-defined storage features.

In June, Microsoft had described an Azure edition of Windows Server 2022 at the preview stage, which was later called the "Datacenter Azure edition," but this edition isn't currently shown on Microsoft's pricing page. This product gives organizations access to new a new "Azure Automanage" feature with its "hotpatch" capability. This Datacenter Azure edition and the Azure Automanage feature still seem to be at the preview stage.

Windows Server 2022 Datacenter Azure edition will be available as image in the Azure gallery, the spokesperson clarified:

Windows Server 2022 Datacenter: Azure Edition is a Windows Server image in the Azure gallery that provides customers with additional capabilities such as HotPatch, SMB over QUIC for secure file server migrations and more, when used with Azure Automanage.

Windows Server 2022 Features
Microsoft provided a fairly full description of Windows Server 2022 features back in June.

This release of Windows Server is notable for bringing Secured-core protections to the server product, along with HTTPS and Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.3 security protocols used by default. Secured-core protections, which ward off malware at the boot level, are already available in some Windows 10 PCs.

Microsoft outlined Secured-core basics in this recent "Intro" article

In addition to Secured-core advancements, Windows Server 2022 has quite a lot of networking and file server additions, namely:

  • Server Message Block (SMB) over QUIC, which is a virtual private network replacement based on the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and the TLS 1.3 protocols, rather than TCP/IP and RDMA (Remote Direct Memory Access).
  • SMB Compression for faster transmission of very large files.
  • Domain Name System (DNS) over HTTPS encryption (DoH) for protecting DNS queries from getting seen or altered by attackers.

These features and more are explained in this Sept. 1 post by Ned Pyle, a Microsoft principal program manager on the Windows Server team.

Windows Server 2022 Availability
Windows Server 2022 products sold by Microsoft's hardware vendor partners weren't listed. Microsoft just pointed to this partner directory search page. Microsoft did recently publish a note to its storage partners about testing Windows Server 2022, so hardware partner efforts are likely are at various states.

It's possible to download Windows Server 2022 bits for testing via the Windows Server Evaluation Center page.

The server can be accessed for running in an Azure virtual machine via the Azure Marketplace. The bits also are available for download from Microsoft's Volume Licensing Service Center page.

Windows Server Summit
Microsoft is planning to talk more about Windows Server 2022 at its public Windows Server Summit online event (sign-up here), happening on Sept. 16 at 10 a.m. PST.

The talk will feature Windows Server luminaries. It brings a "first in-depth look at Windows Server 2022." The event also will include discussion about Windows Server IoT 2022.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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