Windows Server 2021: An Overview for Devs

Greetings, Dev! As a developer, it’s crucial to stay up-to-date with the latest technology trends and advancements. One of the most significant updates in the world of technology this year is the release of Windows Server 2021. In this article, we’ll explore the 20 most critical aspects of this new operating system, including its features, benefits, and improvements. Let’s dive in!

1. What is Windows Server 2021?

Windows Server 2021 is the newest addition to the Windows Server family of operating systems. It’s designed to offer a more secure, stable, and robust environment for businesses and organizations. The server is built on the foundation of the Windows 10 operating system and introduces several new features and improvements aimed at enhancing performance and efficiency.

Improved User Interface

The user interface is one of the most noticeable changes in Windows Server 2021. The new interface is sleeker, more intuitive, and easier to use than previous versions of Windows Server. It features a customizable start menu, improved taskbar, and touch support for devices with touch screens.

Enhanced Security Features

Windows Server 2021 offers several new security features, including Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, which provides real-time detection and response to security threats. The new operating system also includes enhanced security for virtual machines, secure boot support, and shielded virtual machines.

Improved Storage Features

Windows Server 2021 offers several new storage features, including Storage Spaces Direct, which enables storage clusters to be deployed on commodity hardware. The new operating system also includes Storage Replica, which provides synchronous replication of volumes, and Data Deduplication, which reduces storage requirements by eliminating duplicate data.

New Networking Features

Windows Server 2021 introduces several new networking features, including enhanced support for virtual network functions, improved network performance, and the ability to create network function virtualization (NFV) infrastructure. The new operating system also includes support for Software Defined Networking (SDN) and network controllers.

Multi-Layered Security

One of the main advantages of Windows Server 2021 is its multi-layered security approach. The operating system includes advanced anti-malware capabilities, secure virtualization, and advanced threat analytics to protect against the most sophisticated cyberattacks.

2. System Requirements for Windows Server 2021

To install Windows Server 2021, your system must meet the following requirements:

Component
Minimum Requirement
Processor
1.4 GHz 64-bit processor
RAM
2 GB
Hard Disk Space
32 GB
Graphics Card
DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver

Additional System Requirements

In addition to the minimum system requirements, you’ll need the following components to install and run Windows Server 2021:

  • Internet connection (to download updates and activate Windows)
  • Keyboard and mouse (or other pointing device)
  • Monitor with a minimum resolution of 800×600 pixels

Supported Platforms

Windows Server 2021 is compatible with a wide range of platforms, including physical servers, virtual machines, and cloud-based environments. You can install Windows Server 2021 on a variety of systems, including:

  • x86-64 processor-based systems
  • ARM64-based systems
  • Intel Itanium IA-64-based systems (limited to Standard and Datacenter editions)

3. Licensing and Pricing

Windows Server 2021 is available in four editions:

  • Essentials
  • Standard
  • Datacenter
  • Hyper-V Server

Essentials Edition

The Essentials edition is designed for small businesses with up to 25 users and 50 devices. It includes several essential features, including data backup and restore, remote access, and cloud integration. The Essentials edition is the most affordable option, with prices starting at $501.

Standard Edition

The Standard edition is designed for businesses with multiple physical or virtual servers. It includes several advanced features, including virtualization, storage, and unlimited Windows Server containers. The Standard edition starts at $972.

Datacenter Edition

The Datacenter edition is designed for large-scale virtualization and heavy-duty workloads. It includes advanced features such as software-defined networking, shielded virtual machines, and unlimited Hyper-V containers. The Datacenter edition starts at $6,155.

Hyper-V Server

The Hyper-V Server is a stand-alone version of Windows Server that includes only the Hyper-V role. It’s designed for organizations that need virtualization capabilities without the additional features of Windows Server. The Hyper-V Server is available as a free download.

4. Installation and Configuration

Installing Windows Server 2021 is a relatively straightforward process. Before you begin, make sure your system meets the minimum system requirements outlined above. You’ll also need a DVD or USB drive with the installation files or access to a network share with the installation files.

Step 1: Boot from Installation Media

To start the installation process, insert the installation DVD or USB drive into your system and restart the system. You’ll need to boot from the installation media to begin the installation process. If your system doesn’t automatically boot from the installation media, you may need to change your system’s boot settings in the BIOS or UEFI firmware.

Step 2: Select Language and Keyboard Settings

Once you’ve booted from the installation media, you’ll be prompted to select your language and keyboard settings. Choose the settings that are appropriate for your system.

Step 3: Enter Product Key

Next, you’ll need to enter your product key. This key is a 25-character alphanumeric code that’s included with your Windows Server 2021 purchase. Enter the key and click “Next.”

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Step 4: Select Installation Type

You’ll then be asked to select the installation type. Choose either “Custom” or “Upgrade,” depending on your needs.

Step 5: Select Destination and Partition

Next, you’ll need to select the destination and partition where you want to install Windows Server 2021. If you’re upgrading from a previous version of Windows Server, you’ll need to choose the partition where the previous version of Windows Server is installed.

Step 6: Complete Installation and Configuration

Once you’ve selected the destination and partition, the installation process will begin. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation process and configure your system settings.

5. New Features in Windows Server 2021

Windows Server 2021 introduces several new features and improvements that enhance performance, security, and efficiency. Here are some of the highlights:

Improved Hyper-V Virtualization

Windows Server 2021 includes several new features and improvements aimed at enhancing virtualization performance and efficiency. These include support for shielded virtual machines, nested virtualization, and improved Linux virtualization capabilities.

Enhanced Remote Desktop Services

Windows Server 2021 offers several new features that improve the performance, security, and flexibility of Remote Desktop Services. These include support for multiple monitors, improved graphics rendering, and enhanced security features.

New Security Features

Windows Server 2021 introduces several new security features designed to protect against the most sophisticated cyberattacks. These include Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, Just in Time (JIT) and Just Enough Administration (JEA), and shielded virtual machines.

Improved Storage Features

Windows Server 2021 includes several new storage features designed to improve performance, scalability, and efficiency. These include Storage Spaces Direct, Storage Replica, and data deduplication.

New Container Features

Windows Server 2021 introduces several new container features designed to enhance container management and deployment. These include support for Windows and Linux containers, Docker Compose support, and improved networking capabilities.

6. Benefits of Windows Server 2021

Windows Server 2021 offers several benefits for businesses and organizations, including:

Improved Security

Windows Server 2021 offers several new security features designed to protect against the most sophisticated cyberattacks. These include Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, Just in Time (JIT) and Just Enough Administration (JEA), and shielded virtual machines.

Enhanced Performance and Efficiency

Windows Server 2021 introduces several new features and improvements aimed at enhancing performance and efficiency. These include support for nested virtualization, enhanced storage features, and improved container management capabilities.

Greater Flexibility and Scalability

Windows Server 2021 is designed to be highly flexible and scalable, making it ideal for businesses of all sizes. The operating system can be deployed on physical servers, virtual machines, or cloud-based environments, depending on your organization’s needs.

Cost-Effective Solution

Windows Server 2021 is a cost-effective solution, allowing businesses and organizations to achieve their technological goals without breaking the bank. The operating system is available in several different editions, each tailored to meet specific business needs and budgets.

Improved User Experience

Windows Server 2021 offers an improved user experience, with a sleeker, more intuitive interface and enhanced touch support for devices with touch screens. The operating system is also designed to be easier to use and manage than previous versions of Windows Server.

7. How to Migrate to Windows Server 2021

If you’re currently using an older version of Windows Server and want to migrate to Windows Server 2021, there are several steps you can take to make the process as smooth and seamless as possible.

Step 1: Assess Your Current Environment

The first step in any migration project is to assess your current environment. This involves taking an inventory of your current hardware and software assets, identifying any compatibility issues, and assessing your current workload and performance requirements.

Step 2: Plan Your Migration Strategy

Once you’ve assessed your current environment, you’ll need to plan your migration strategy. This involves identifying the target state for your environment, creating a migration plan, and determining the best migration approach (such as a phased migration or a big bang migration).

Step 3: Test Your Migration Plan

Before you begin the migration process, it’s essential to test your migration plan thoroughly. This involves testing your hardware and software compatibility, evaluating your migration tools, and validating your migration process.

Step 4: Execute Your Migration Plan

Once you’ve tested your migration plan, it’s time to execute it. This involves performing the actual migration, including transferring data and applications, configuring your new environment, and testing your new system to ensure it’s functioning correctly.

Step 5: Monitor and Optimize Your New Environment

After your migration is complete, it’s essential to monitor and optimize your new environment continually. This involves monitoring your system’s performance, identifying any issues or bottlenecks, and optimizing your system to ensure optimal performance and efficiency.

8. Top Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What are the new features in Windows Server 2021?

A1: Windows Server 2021 introduces several new features and improvements aimed at enhancing performance, security, and efficiency, including improved virtualization, enhanced security features, improved storage features, new networking features, and improved container management capabilities.

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Q2: What are the system requirements for Windows Server 2021?

A2: To install Windows Server 2021, your system must meet the following requirements: 1.4 GHz 64-bit processor, 2 GB of RAM or more, 32 GB of hard disk space or more, and DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver. You’ll also need an internet connection, keyboard, mouse, and monitor with a minimum resolution of 800×600 pixels.

Q3: What are the licensing and pricing options for Windows Server 2021?

A3: Windows Server 2021 is available in four editions: Essentials, Standard, Datacenter, and Hyper-V Server. Prices range from $501 for the Essentials edition to $6,155 for the Datacenter edition. The Hyper-V Server is available as a free download.

Q4: How do I install and configure Windows Server 2021?

A4: Installing and configuring Windows Server 2021 is a relatively straightforward process. You’ll need to boot from the installation media, select your language and keyboard settings, enter your product key, select the installation type, select the destination and partition, and complete the installation and configuration process.

Q5: Can I migrate to Windows Server 2021 from an older version of Windows Server?

A5: Yes, you can migrate to Windows Server 2021 from an older version of Windows Server. Before migrating, you’ll need to assess your current environment, plan your migration strategy, test your migration plan, execute your migration plan, and monitor and optimize your new environment.

Q6: What are the benefits of using Windows Server 2021?

A6: Windows Server 2021 offers several benefits for businesses and organizations, including improved security, enhanced performance and efficiency, greater flexibility and scalability, cost-effective solutions, and an improved user experience.

Q7: What operating systems are compatible with Windows Server 2021?

A7: Windows Server 2021 is compatible with a wide range of platforms, including physical servers, virtual machines, and cloud-based environments. You can install Windows Server 2021 on a variety of systems, including x86-64 processor-based systems, ARM64-based systems, and Intel Itanium IA-64-based systems (limited to Standard and Datacenter editions).

Q8: What are the different editions of Windows Server 2021?

A8: Windows Server 2021 is available in four editions: Essentials, Standard, Datacenter, and Hyper-V Server. The Essentials edition is designed for small businesses with up to 25 users and 50 devices. The Standard edition is designed for businesses with multiple physical or virtual servers. The Datacenter edition is designed for large-scale virtualization and heavy-duty workloads. The Hyper-V Server is a stand-alone version of Windows Server that includes only the Hyper-V role.

Q9: What are the best practices for using Windows Server 2021?

A9: To get the most out of Windows Server 2021, it’s important to follow a few best practices, including staying up-to-date with the latest security updates, monitoring your system’s performance regularly, optimizing your system settings for your specific workload, and backing up your data regularly.

Q10: Can I run Linux workloads on Windows Server 2021?

A10: Yes, Windows Server 2021 includes support for Linux workloads. You can use the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) to run Linux applications natively on Windows Server 2021 or use virtualization technologies to run Linux virtual machines on Windows Server 2021.