In a datacenter and cloud world that now only has eyes for Linux, few weeks back, Microsoft has announced that Windows Server 2025 will be the next edition of Windows Server. Windows Server 2025 will therefore be the next version of Microsoft's operating system for servers and data centers. This version, which succeeds Windows Server 2022, still remains quite mysterious. The publisher has not really defined the main lines pursued by this new edition.
For a while (Windows NT 4, Windows 2000), the basic codes of Windows Server and Windows Desktop were very close… to the point that a hack in the registry made it possible to switch a “Workstation” to a “Server”.
Finally simple updates – HOT Patching
This new Build brings a major new version that is initially only available to Windows Insiders. Windows 11 “Insider” flighting technology is now ported to Windows Server. This feature will finally make it possible to automatically install new builds of Windows Server 2025 Insider without having to carry out a complete reinstallation for each new build (one approximately every 15 days).
While this feature transforms the Insider experience, it also opens the way to a whole new approach to updating Windows Server. Administrators will no longer be required to completely reinstall a server to switch to a major system update. All you have to do is simply go through Windows Update. And that’s a real revolution in the Windows Server world.
SMB over QUIC
We have detailed SMB over Quic in our post here. This feature is already present in Windows Server 2022 “Azure Edition”, “SMB over QUIC” is an encrypted protocol that uses TLS 1.3 for connections. It is described as being able to prevent identity theft and adversary-in-the-middle attacks.
The build launched this week integrates it – confirming standard support for this protocol in Windows Server 2025 – with new features such as the ability to specify on which UDP port operated (until now the port was hardcoded and set to 443 ).
Quote:SMB over QUIC offers an “SMB VPN” for telecommuters, mobile device users, and high security organizations.
Towards a “Pay as you Go” model?
If Microsoft does not seem to want to abandon the perpetual license, the publisher would still prepare a subscription option which would allow paying for its Windows Server 2025 on a usage basis with supervision via Azure Arc. Above all, this would involve offering more flexibility to organizations with very seasonal loads and preventing them from over-provisioning Windows Server over the long term simply to meet one-off needs.
Integrated Azure Stack HCI?
Azure Stack HCI is a Windows Server extension designed to enable integrators to deliver hyperconverged and hybrid cloud solutions that are highly integrated with Azure. In particular, it provides more flexibility in terms of distributed storage, space provisioning and cluster management. Some of these low-level improvements are expected to be included directly in Windows Server 2015, with the Azure Stack HCI layer focusing more on hybrid scenarios.
New in Active Directory
Microsoft has changed Active Directory very little since Windows Server 2016, instead encouraging companies, particularly TPRs and SMEs, to switch entirely to Azure AD, now Entra ID. However, the publisher does not forget that many companies continue to build their cybersecurity and access rights management on Active Directory.
Windows Server 2025 thus benefits from improvements probably inspired by work carried out for the Cloud. Thus, the underlying database, Jet Blue, switches to a modernized version with an internal 32K paging mechanism instead of 8K, which in theory makes it possible to manage more complex AD objects.
With the WINS and Mail slots protocols having been disabled by Microsoft, Windows Server 2025 should introduce new, more secure Domain Controller discovery algorithms.
In addition, security by default is reinforced with the integration of the RC4 algorithm in Kerberos, TLS 1.3 to secure “LDAP over TLS”, new tracking indicators and new events for investigations and above all tougher management of password changes, particularly for the “Protected Users” group.
Finally some Hotpatching!
However, we saved the best for last. The real big promise of Windows Server 2025 is to finally offer complete hotpatching on Windows Server, in other words the possibility of applying hot system patches without requiring a reboot immediately. Enough to completely transform the daily lives of Windows Administrators and drastically improve the availability rate of Windows servers in the future.
We can hope to see this promise come true since hotpatching is already present on Windows Server “Azure Edition” and on “Azure Stack HCI”. However, support for this functionality could be billed separately, as Microsoft seems to want to pass the management of this hot patching through its Azure Arc console.
In short, even if Linux has become the standard Cloud OS even under Azure, Microsoft is not abandoning Windows Server, far from it. Remember that the OS serves as the foundation for its own cloud as well as its hybrid Azure Stack HCI solution, an alternative to Nutanix or VMware.
Windows Server 2025
- Windows Server 2025 build 26040 has a new Install Experience (Installation screenshots)
- Windows Server 2025 Azure Arc Taskbar Icon
- SMB over QUIC in Windows Server 2025 – What’s this?
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