The Windows server operating systems are a series of enterprise-class server operating systems from Microsoft. They are designed for multi-user service sharing and comprehensive administrative control of data storage, applications, and corporate networks.

Windows Server development began in the early 1980s when Microsoft produced two lines of operating systems: MS-DOS and Windows NT. Microsoft engineer David Cutler designed the Windows NT kernel to provide the speed, security, and reliability that large organizations need in a server operating system.

Before the release of Windows NT, many companies relied on the Unix operating system, which required expensive RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer)-based hardware to run file and print services. Windows NT was able to run on less costly x86 machines.

An essential feature of the NT architecture is symmetric multiprocessing, which allows applications with multiple processors to run faster.

Later versions of Windows Server can be deployed either on hardware in an organization's data center or on a cloud platform such as Microsoft Azure.

 Key features in later versions of Windows Server include Active Directory, which automates user data management, security, and distributed resources and allows interoperability with other directories. Another component is the Server Manager, a utility for managing Cheap Windows Server roles and making configuration changes to local machines or remotely.

 History of Windows Server

1993: Windows NT 3.1 Enhanced Server

 The Windows NT operating system was released in two formats: one for workstations and the other for servers. The 32-bit operating system had a hardware abstraction layer (HAL) that provided more system stability by blocking applications from accessing the system hardware directly. Enterprises could use Advanced Server as a domain controller to store user and group rights.

 1994: Windows NT 3.5 Server

 Microsoft has updated key networking features in this server release and added built-in support for TCP/IP and Winsock. Other network improvements allowed other non-Microsoft operating systems users to access files and applications on the domain.

 1995: Windows NT Server 3.51

 Microsoft fine-tuned this release to increase performance and reduce disk space requirements. This server operating system has been optimized to provide faster services to users through its updated network stack. Microsoft added more connectivity support for companies using a mixed environment with Windows NT and NetWare servers. It allowed users to get services from both with single access.

 1996: Windows NT Server 4.0

 Microsoft borrowed the Windows 95 user interface for this version of the server operating system and used many applications from the PC operating system, such as Windows Explorer. Microsoft enhanced the network protocol capabilities in this release to make network resources available to a more significant number of non-Microsoft machines. The main new features in this release were the ability to host a server as an Internet Information Server (ISS) - now retaining the acronym Internet Information Service - and as a Domain Name System server (DNS) to use. This server operating system could also guide administrators with management wizards to complete specific tasks, such as sharing a hard drive.

 2000: Windows 2000

 With Windows 2000, Microsoft introduced Active Directory, a directory service that stores and manages information about network objects, including user data, systems, and services. Active Directory allows administrators to perform various tasks such as configuring virtual private networks, data encryption, and granting access to file shares on networked computers.

 Microsoft also introduced several other essential features in this release, including


  • Microsoft Management Console (MMC),
  • NTFS 3.0 file system (New Technology File System)
  • Support for Dynamic Disk Volumes.
  • Windows 2000 had three editions - Server, Advanced Server, and Datacenter - designed to work with Windows 2000 Professional, the end-user operating system.


2003: Windows Server 2003

Microsoft introduced the Windows Server brand with the release of Windows Server 2003 and announced security improvements over Windows 2000. Microsoft better-secured IIS, the webserver function, and disabled other standard services to reduce vulnerability. With this release, Microsoft introduced server roles that allowed administrators to assign a server a specific position, such as a domain controller or DNS server. Navicosoft is providing Cheap Windows VPS.

 This release's other new features include:

  • An enhanced encryption capability.
  • An integrated firewall.
  • Better Network Address Translation (NAT) support.
  • The Volume Shadow Copy Service.

 Windows Server 2003 had four editions: Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter, and Web.

 2005: Windows Server 2003 R2

Instead of a version number, Microsoft began using the R designation with Windows Server 2003 R2—or release two. Businesses always had to purchase a new Windows server license to use the new server OS, but R2 releases used the Client Access Licenses (CALs) from the immediately preceding server release, so those licenses did not need to be updated.

 This version improved the security and protection features of Windows Server 2003.

 The main new features were:

 Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) allows administrators to extend single sign-on access to applications and systems beyond the corporate firewall.

Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM) stores data for applications that have not been deemed secure enough to be used in Active Directory.

This release also includes data replication and data compression improvements for branch sites. Security enhancements in this release included the Security Configuration Wizard, which allows administrators to apply consistent security policies to multiple machines.

 2008: Windows Server 2008

Windows Server 2008 added new features such as:


  • hyper-v virtualization software,
  • failover cluster,
  • event viewer,
  • Server Core – minimal deployment option managed via command line and
  • The server manager console adds and manages server roles and features on local and remote machines.
  • Microsoft also overhauled the network stack and Active Directory to improve its Group Policy and identity management capabilities.

 Windows Server 2008 was offered in four editions: Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter, and Web.

 2009: Windows Server 2008 R2

Microsoft used its Windows 7 kernel for this server operating system and emphasized improved scaling and availability functions during the release.

 Microsoft has also enhanced the Active Directory with improved handling of user accounts and more precise configuration options for policies in this version. The company also updated Terminal Services functionality, renaming Remote Desktop Services (RDS).

 New features in this release include BranchCache and DirectAccess, which aim to improve the way users work in remote locations.

 This server operating system, like its predecessor, shares some of the management and security features with the associated Windows Vista end-user operating system. Windows Server 2008 R2 also marked the move from a 32-bit server operating system to a 64-bit version. Navicosoft is providing Cheap Windows VPS Hosting.

 2012: Windows Server 2012

 Microsoft has embedded several cloud features in Windows Server 2012, even calling it a cloud operating system. The aim was to make it easier for companies to operate their applications in public or private clouds. Microsoft also made significant updates to the operating system's storage infrastructure and the Hyper-V virtualization platform.

 Notable new features in this release were the Hyper-V Virtual Switch, Hyper-V Replica, Storage Spaces, and the ReFS file system.

 Also, Microsoft has switched the default installation to Server Core, which requires admins to use PowerShell. At this release, PowerShell had 2,300 cmdlets for management.

 This server version was available in four variants: Essentials, Foundation, Standard, and Datacenter. The Standard and Datacenter editions had the same range of functions. The former allowed companies to run two virtual machines (VMs), while the data center allowed an unlimited number of VMs.

 2013: Windows Server 2012 R2

 Microsoft made extensive changes with Windows Server 2012 R2, including updates in virtualization, storage, networking, information security, and web services.

 Important new features:


  • Desired State Configuration (DSC) builds on PowerShell and prevents configuration drift. The aim is to maintain a consistency of configurations on the company's computers.
  • Storage tiering added to storage areas boosts performance by automatically moving frequently accessed blocks of data to solid-state drives (SSD)
  • Work Folders allow users to access and store corporate files on work and personal devices through replication to servers in the corporate data center.

2016: Windows Server 2016

 Microsoft has brought its server operating system closer to the cloud with several new features tailored to facilitate workload migrations, such as support for Docker containers and software-defined improvements in networking.

 History of the operating system from NT 3.1 Advanced Server to Windows Server 2016

Microsoft also introduced Nano Server, a minimal server deployment option designed to increase security by reducing the attack vector. According to Microsoft, Nano Server is 93 percent smaller than a full Windows Server deployment.

 Another step towards security is the new Hyper-V shielded VM, which uses encryption to prevent data within a VM from being compromised.

 The network controller is an important new network capability that allows administrators to manage the switches, subnets, and other devices in the virtual and physical networks.

 This Cheap Windows Server operating system is available in Standard and Datacenter editions. In previous Windows Server versions, the Standard and Datacenter editions had the same range of functions but different license rights and usage restrictions. With Windows Server 2016, the standard edition doesn't have the more advanced features in virtualization, storage, and networking.

 2017: Semi-Annual Channel and Long-Term Service Channel releases

In June 2017, Microsoft announced it would split Windows Server into two channels: the Semi-Annual Channel (SAC) and the Long Term Servicing Cycle (LTSC) channel - formerly the Long Term Servicing Division.

 The SAC is aimed at companies with a DevOps framework that prefer a shorter time between updates to receive the latest features for fast application development cycles continuously. SAC releases are released every six months - one in spring and once in fall - with only 18 months of mainstream support.

 Microsoft tailored the LTSC primarily for companies that prefer the more traditional release cycle of two to three years between major updates, with the usual five years of mainstream support, followed by a further five years of extended support.

 The LTSC naming convention preserves the Windows Server YYYY format - such as Windows Server 2016 - while the SAC releases are named in the YYMM format. Microsoft said it plans to incorporate most of the modifications from the SAC releases into the upcoming LTSC releases. Conversely, functions from the last LTSC version can but do not have to be included in the current SAC version.

 Microsoft released its first SAC release - Windows Server Version 1709 - in October 2017. Highlights of this release supported Linux containers with kernel isolation provided by Hyper-V and a revamped nano server intended to be used solely as a container image for the base OS.

 Companies with Software Assurance on their Cheap Windows VPS Server Standard or Datacenter licenses or a Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) license can download the SAC versions from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center. Organizations without Software Assurance can use SAC versions in Azure or another cloud or hosting environment.

 Windows Server 2019

The new LTSC version of Windows Server 2019 was released in October 2018. It is based on Windows 10 (1809). It contains all essential innovations of the SAC versions 1709 and 1803.

 Like Windows 2016, the most essential construction site of Windows Server 2019 is virtualization. Improvements were mainly made to Azure and container technology. There is support for Kubernetes and a new container image that enables more applications to be deployed. In addition, compatibility with the virtualization of Linux servers has been improved.

 There were also some innovations in ​​security, including the integration of Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection.

 Windows Server 2019 is available in three editions: Essentials, Standard and Datacenter. The Essentials version allows either a physical or a virtual installation. The standard version limits the number of virtual machines or containers to two, while the data center version sets no virtualization limits. The Essentials version also does not include AD Federation Services, Application Server, and Remote Desktop Services.

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