How Windows Server 2019 supports hybrid cloud strategies for small businesses

Windows Server 2019 enables unmatched security and innovation to help businesses with their hybrid cloud strategies. Let's take a look at the compelling reasons why Windows Server 2019 lights up the cloud.

If you manage IT for a small business and you're looking to save money and increase efficiency, hybrid cloud is a great strategy to consider. But first, you need a server operating system that can support a hybrid environment.

Therein lies one of the biggest benefits of migrating to Windows Server 2019. Windows Server 2019 can light up a hybrid cloud scenario, letting you take advantage of the best of the cloud while still running some applications on-premises. Updating your current infrastructure with hardware optimized for Windows Server 2019 can also put you in a better position to connect seamlessly to public cloud services like Azure, leading to a more modern IT infrastructure overall.

For small businesses, this hybrid approach has real benefits: it can simplify complicated technical scenarios, improve security, and, in the long run, cut costs.

Let's dig into each of these benefits and explore how Windows Server 2019 helps you get there.

Integration with Azure

Windows Server 2019 was built to make integration with Azure easy. It's the operating system Microsoft runs Azure on, so cloud services are deep in the operating system's DNA.

Windows Server 2019 is able to take advantage of many Azure services. For example, Windows Admin Center manages both on-premises Windows systems as well as workloads and virtual machines within your organization's Azure environment all in one place. There's also the Storage Replica feature, which copies and backs up your local storage into the cloud for easy disaster recovery and failover. Scenarios like these would've been extremely complex to set up with older versions of Windows Server, but Windows Server 2019 helps boil them down to a wizardlike setup and operations interface.

No discussion of Windows Server and Azure would be complete, however, without mention of Azure Stack, Microsoft's private cloud-in-a-box. Azure Stack is like a miniature version of Azure that exists solely in the footprint of your real estate. Azure Stack allows workloads to benefit from a cloud-like environment without requiring you to be connected to the cloud at all times. With it, you can spin up services on a self-service basis, abstract the hardware resources necessary for the workloads you want to perform, and obtain levels of redundancy and failover that are typically only found in the cloud, among other things.

Some workloads simply don't belong in the public cloud due to confidentiality reasons, regulatory compliance issues, cost problems, or performance bottlenecks. Using Azure Stack and running Windows Server 2019 delivers public cloud flexibility with the control and privacy you require.

Long-term cost savings

While upgrading to new servers and buying new operating system licenses does come with fixed costs, modernizing your infrastructure can reap dividends that exceed the initial investment.

Modern Gen10 servers have processors that are significantly more powerful than legacy systems. As a result, applications require far fewer servers with far fewer processors than older systems to achieve the same or superior performance. In fact, a study by Intel concluded that five Gen10 servers can provide performance equal to 20 servers from the 2012 era. Since most software is licensed by the number of processor cores, modern servers can significantly reduce software license and support costs. Additionally, it’s simpler to manage fewer servers, plus there are power/space savings that come from fighting server sprawl in the data center.

As you can see, operating newer technology gives you more bang for your buck over time. In fact, using servers with a modern Intel processor and chipset can be as much as 60 percent cheaper than maintaining legacy solutions.

System insights

As mentioned above, enhanced instrumentation enables modern hardware and software to better detect problems. Windows Server 2019 uses this instrumentation and the millions of data points it generates to run predictive analytics that can foresee impending issues before they occur.

The new System Insights feature delivers this foresight. The feature looks at usage patterns to pinpoint how much compute, storage, and networking capacity you'll need. Hardware providers such as HPE can offer their own models and output, which plug right into the feature's reporting tools. System Insights helps your small business become more proactive about IT maintenance, and caps infrastructure costs by minimizing the need for costly reactive troubleshooting and last-minute repairs.

Advanced security

In today's internet environment, cybercrime is rampant. Hackers and other malicious actors can cripple a business, damage a company's reputation, and cost organizations millions of dollars in the process. Given these risks, the security features in Windows Server 2019 and the additional protection that Azure provides are worth their weight in gold. These features, in particular, stand out:

  • Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection: Baked in deep within the core and layers of the Windows Server 2019 operating system, Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) detects abnormal and suspicious activity, proactively hunts for and prevents kernel and memory attacks, and suppresses related files to remediate vulnerabilities. Only Windows Defender ATP buries those hooks so deeply within the OS. As evidence of its effectiveness, this technology protects instances within the public Azure cloud day in and day out at tremendous scale.

  • Windows Defender ATP Exploit Guard: Exploit Guard protects against intrusions by essentially laying down a tripwire in places where malware tends to try to infiltrate. It can block malicious files, scripts, and email threats, block untrusted outbound processes that are typically used by botnets, and protect sensitive data by using whitelisting to only allow trusted code to touch certain folders.

Ricky Shea