Microsoft Windows Server 2025: Secure, Scalable, and AI-Ready

From May 29, 2024, Microsoft Windows Server 2025 is available in public preview and will become generally available later in 2024. This release is the most secure and innovative version to date. It offers advanced security features, new Azure hybrid capabilities, and enhanced performance for AI and application workloads.

 

What is Windows Server?

Windows Server is an operating system created by Microsoft for servers. It is engineered to manage networked systems, host databases, and run enterprise applications. Unlike the Windows OS for personal computers, Windows Server is optimized for tasks that require high levels of reliability, scalability, and security. It is widely used in business environments to support the infrastructure for connected applications, networks, and web services.

 

Main new features of Windows Server 2025

Microsoft Windows Server 2025 provides a more secure, versatile, and high-performing server environment than ever before. The main enhancements have been made in these areas:

Security

  • Active Directory now includes additional security features for robust identity management.
  • Server Message Block (SMB) has been updated to include SMB over Quick UDP Internet Connections (QUIC) and defenses against common network attacks.
  • Security Updates require fewer system restarts, facilitated by Azure Arc’s hotpatching and improvements in Active Directory and SMB.

Hybrid Capabilities

Windows Server supports hybrid and multicloud environments with:

  • Software-defined Networking (SDN) features for better connectivity and management across multiple sites.
  • Azure Arc tools for integrating Azure services into on-premises datacenters.

AI and Performance

New functionalities support AI and enhance system performance:

  • GPU Partitioning for virtual machines, aiding AI workloads with live migration and clustering support.
  • Network Features like Adaptive Traffic Control (ATC) and Health and Usage Dashboard (HUD) for improved network management.
  • Storage and Hyper-V see performance gains and scalability improvements.

Hotpatching

Hotpatching now lets the admin apply security updates without a reboot. This has only been available in the Azure Edition of Windows Server 2022 Datacenter before. Typically, to apply updates to system files, a server must undergo a restart to finalize the patching procedure, which is not necessary anymore due to hotpatching.

Hotpatching will become available as an add-on monthly subscription. This feature will necessitate the use of Azure Arc and Software Assurance. If you are using Azure Edition, Hotpatching comes at no additional cost, available on Azure and Azure Stack HCI.

 

Licensing Editions

Microsoft Windows Server 2025 still offers three primary licensing editions, tailored to fit different organizational sizes and needs regarding virtualization and datacenter requirements:

Windows Server 2025 Edition Ideal for Licensing model [1] CAL requirements
Datacenter Highly virtualized datacenters and cloud environments. Includes features like Azure Hybrid Benefit and unlimited OSEs/Hyper-V isolated containers Core-based Windows Server CAL
Standard Physical or minimally virtualized environments. Provides core Windows Server functionality. Includes two OSEs/Hyper-V isolated containers. Core-based Windows Server CAL
Essentials Small businesses with up to 25 users and 50 devices Specialty servers (server license) [2] No CAL required

[1] CALs are required for every user or device accessing a server. See the Product Use Rights for details.

[2] Up to 10 cores and 1 VM on single-socket servers. Windows Server Essentials is available through Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Server Hardware partners of Microsoft.

 

Licensing Model

The licensing model for Windows Server 2025 has been updated to provide more flexibility for organizations. It introduces a new pay-as-you-go option, alongside the traditional perpetual licensing.

Pay-as-you-go subscription

Under this new licensing approach, companies can opt for a subscription-based model, in which you pay based on actual usage. It is managed and billed via Azure. This requires using Azure Arc, which is designed to oversee enterprise workloads across various platforms. The advantage of this model is that it enables organizations to scale their server capacity up or down based on fluctuating demands, such as seasonal spikes in activity, without the need for permanent infrastructure expansion. This offers a cost-effective solution for managing short-term increases in server load.

Perpetual license

The perpetual license option remains available for those who prefer the conventional method. It offers five years of standard support followed by five years of extended support.

 

Quarterly Release Cycle

Hotpatch Servicing starts after the baseline and is only for security updates, which are being released monthly. .NET Updates are not part of Hotpatching. Regular Servicing also releases monthly updates but necessitates reboots. Regular Servicing includes security and non-security updates. Organizations using Hotpatching need to do a quarterly, rebooted baseline update.

 

Upgrading from Windows Server 2022 to 2025

When upgrading from Windows Server 2022 to 2025, an Operating System (OS) upgrade through Windows Update is possible. This makes the upgrading experience similar to Windows 11 and easy.

 

Are you interested in Windows Server 2025?

Contact SCHNEIDER IT MANAGEMENT for a free consultancy on how to best implement Windows Server 2025 into your organization’s IT infrastructure.

Man in suit checking his tablet

 

More information

Find details on what is new in Windows Server 2025 here: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/get-started/whats-new-windows-server-2025.

Find videos on the Windows Server Summit 2024 here: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/tech-community-live/windows-server-summit-2024/ev-p/4068971 and here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j470Tp4b6es.

Get started with Windows Server 2025 Preview here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-windows-server-2025.

For pricing info, please visit: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/pricing and contact SCHNEIDER IT MANAGEMENT.

For more on Microsoft licensing, visit our Microsoft vendor page at: https://www.schneider.im/software/microsoft/.

Please contact us for free expert consultancy on your specific Microsoft software and Online Services requirements and to request a quote today.

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