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Microsoft Ignite Showcases IT Modernization with Windows Server 2019

Presidio came away from Microsoft Ignite 2018 with a strengthened belief in the need for IT modernization. If your organization is still dependent on aging infrastructure at the end of support, we can help you enjoy dramatic performance and security gains – while avoiding costly pitfalls – by migrating to modern hardware and software based on Intel® technology and running Windows Server 2019.

by Alex Duncan, Presidio Senior Director, Tuesday, 9 Oct 2018

On behalf of everyone at Presidio who just attended Ignite 2018, kudos to Microsoft for hosting yet another informative technology conference. We saw and learned a great deal that we’ve already begun sharing with customers and colleagues.

One of our key take-ways from Ignite involved the importance of data center modernization – a message underscored repeatedly at the conference by our technology partners Microsoft and Intel. The forces driving the need to modernize are irresistible: expanding volumes of data that can be mined for actionable insights, as well as the performance and security benefits to be gained for a decisive competitive advantage – all from highly optimized hardware and software from Intel and Microsoft.

In short, there couldn’t be a better time for you to start your migration to a modern infrastructure, especially if you’re among the countless organizations with legacy systems running Windows Server 2008 or SQL Server 2008. Microsoft’s key announcements at Ignite included the general availability of Windows Server 2019 commencing in October, as well as a preview version of SQL Server 2019 that’s available now. These latest releases are designed with customers’ desire for hybridization, security, agility, and TCO at top of mind.

It’s time to retire Windows Server 2008 and modernize your data center

We appreciate that your old, reliable OS has performed admirably for years, but nothing lasts forever. As business technology evolves, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll start to notice lagging performance, rising operational costs, and even serious security incidents.

Presidio wants to share the clear message we heard at Ignite: with support winding down soon, it’s time to bid farewell to Windows Server 2008 and start planning your migration to a modern IT infrastructure based on Intel® technology and running Windows Server 2019.  We offer two compelling reasons for embracing IT modernization right now with Windows Server 2019 – the carrot and the stick, if you like.

What you gain: the capabilities of a modern IT infrastructure

Let’s start with the carrot: Today’s organizations enjoy a world of new choices previously unavailable only a few years ago, spanning on-premises private networks, the public cloud, hybridization, software-defined infrastructure, and so much more.  Modernizing with an agile IT infrastructure based on Windows Server 2019 delivers immediate bottom-line benefits, including support for:

  • Hybridization – Previously, hybrid cloud management tools were accessible via a separate console. Now, centralized management and orchestration capability for on-prem and of-prem is integrated into Windows Server 2019, a significant improvement for organizations seeking an easier, more flexible path to the hybrid cloud.
  • Security – Security continues to be a top priority for Microsoft, and the latest version of Windows Server is armed with an array of new security technologies, including Windows Defender, Shielded Virtual Machines, Credential Guard, Device Guard, and Control Flow Guard. Paired with the hardened security features of the Intel Xeon Scalable processor, the result is advanced, multi-layered protection for assets and identities.
  • Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) – Increasingly, data centers are moving to hyperconverged systems that virtualize large, shared pools of compute, storage and networking resources. Windows Server 2019 supports their path to becoming software-defined, cloud-ready environments.
  • Cloud-ready application platforms – Windows Server 2019 delivers advanced virtualization capabilities and container support, making it the ideal platform for hybrid cloud environments.
  • Expanding workloads and DevOps – Nearly two-thirds of executives say they plan to invest big in artificial intelligence, as DevOps practices gain wide adoption. They’ll require agile, converged systems to support diverse, compute-heavy workloads, faster code deployments for cloud-first applications, and the improved resiliency and stability that modern server software can provide.
  • Storage – Storage Spaces Direct enables highly available and scalable software-defined storage at a fraction of the cost of traditional SAN or NAS arrays. Features such as caching, storage tiers, and erasure coding, together with the latest hardware innovations such as RDMA networking and NVMe drives, deliver unrivaled efficiency and performance.

“Storage Spaces Direct is really going to be the entry into the hyperconverged space,” said Raphael Meyerowitz , Presidio’s VP Office of the CTO, during an interview at the Ignite conference. “Customers are going to start building their own hyperconverged platform based on Windows Server 2019 Data Center. Those customers want a single platform they can easily manage with a single operating system.”

What you avoid: the costly hazards of an unsupported OS

Now, about the stick: At Ignite, Microsoft reminded us that the end was near for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 with extended support ending on January 14, 2020. Even more imminent, support for SQL Server 2008 R2 ends July 9, 2019. Beyond those dates, customers can either receive three years of free security updates by moving to Azure public cloud, or they can pay big dollars for those security updates if they want to remain on-prem, to avoid being vulnerable to sophisticated cyber attacks and compliance issues.

If you’re in this situation, you might want to explore a third, more sensible option: IT modernization. Even if the end of 2008 support weren’t an issue, an aging OS simply is not designed to optimize, or even accommodate, modern applications. The result: lagging performance, higher operating costs, and an inability to compete effectively. In fact, according to a 2017 ESG research paper, 71% of IT organizations cite legacy infrastructure as the biggest barrier to business transformation.

Modern software needs modern hardware

To get the greatest value from Windows Server 2019, its adoption really needs to be part of a larger move toward IT modernization based on Intel technology. Unless you have the right hardware to fully support its many new capabilities, even the most modern OS simply cannot perform to its fullest potential.

As Intel highlighted at Ignite, Windows Server 2019 is designed for optimum performance with the latest Intel® Xeon® processor Scalable family, which also features powerful new hardware-based security enhancements. And, Intel introduced high-capacity Intel® Optane™ DC persistent memory, which allows applications to run without latency when accessing storage over the PCIe bus, with advanced encryption for persistent data built into the hardware. During the conference, Microsoft verified that Windows* Server 2019 and SQL Server* vNEXT are optimized for Intel Optane DC persistent memory, and the two companies are collaborating on support for currently shipping versions of SQL Server. Another advantage of data center modernization: a new class of storage and memory, Intel® Optane® SSDs and Intel® 3D NAND SSDs can handle today’s extremely data-intensive workloads such as advanced analytics, machine learning and deep learning.

Ready for IT modernization? Start now: talk to Presidio

However you choose to view data center modernization – opportunity or necessity – the time to start planning your migration is now. To prepare for tomorrow’s data-driven business landscape, Presidio can help you maximize the performance, manageability and security capabilities of the latest Windows Server and SQL Server offerings as part of a greater overall transformation.

(It should be stated: if your need for migration is immediate and urgent, don’t delay – Windows Server 2016 and SQL Server 2017 are well established and readily available right now; you can ramp up to the 2019 releases down the road.)

Take IT modernization all the way with the newest hyperconverged solutions that offer ease of management, dramatic performance dividends, and greater cost efficiency. Presidio can show you a range of software-defined solutions for the data center, deploying consistent hybrid cloud capabilities across public and private environments.

Presidio got to view Windows Server 2019 in action during the general rollout at Microsoft Ignite, and we’re eager to demonstrate its full capabilities for you in Presidio Labs or in person.  Contact us – we’ll share what we learned at Ignite, and how it might apply to your IT environment.

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Presidio is a leading North American IT solutions provider focused on Digital Infrastructure, Business Analytics, Cloud, Security & Emerging solutions. We deliver this technology expertise through a full life cycle model of professional, managed, and support services including strategy, consulting, implementation and design. By taking the time to deeply understand how our clients define success, we help them harness technology advances, simplify IT complexity and optimize their environments today while enabling future applications, user experiences, and revenue models.
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