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Windows Server 2022: Azure Edition slips into Public Preview

Amid all the emissions about Windows 11 this week came the stealthy arrival of the public preview of Windows Server 2022: Azure Edition.

While its desktop sibling has had its ups and downs over the years, Windows Server has soldiered on behind the scenes. Windows Server 2019 was, according to Microsoft, “our fastest adopted Windows Server ever”.

Server 2022 is destined to be the next release in the Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) and supports up to 48TB of RAM, 64 sockets, and 2,048 logical processors. The blessed relief of hotpatching that doesn’t need a reboot is continued from the Azure Edition of Server 2019 (although a server bounce is still needed after a quarterly update.)

The Azure Edition is, as its name suggests, designed specifically to run in Azure or on an Azure Stack HCI cluster. Bare-metal or third-party clouds are right out. As well as that farewell to hotpatch reboots (unless something critical happens that demands it), the company proclaimed: “Windows Server 2022 Azure Edition will exclusively support SMB over QUIC and Azure Extended Network.”

SMB over QUIC is built to secure the SMB conversation in the QUIC layer. Quick UDP Internet Connections (QUIC) is designed to swap out TCP with something a little more UDP-like. While it originated at Google, Microsoft declared its affection for the standard, showed off MsQuic last year, and here we are.

Going down the SMB-over-QUIC path is not surprising for the Azure Edition of Windows Server. After all, many ISPs block port 445 (used by SMB), which can make using Azure File Shares a pain. A switch to SMB over QUIC should dispense with VPN shenanigans for file share users. The tech is also found in Windows 10 and apps such as the Edge browser.

Azure Extended Network (which stretches an on-premises subnet into Azure) is also part of the public preview, which comprises either the “Desktop Experience” or Core images of Windows Server 2022: Azure Edition. ®


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