Today, Microsoft released its third Insider Preview build of Windows Server since the last stable version came out, bringing the build number to 17074. It's the first that we've seen since December 5, and the build number coincides with the latest Windows 10 preview in the Fast ring.
One thing that has changed with this version is that you'll no longer have to enter a product key when setting up a preview build. Previously, keys were listed on the build announcement.
Here's what's new in build 17074:
Storage Spaces Direct (S2D)
In this preview build we continue to expand and simplify the hardware for Storage Spaces Direct. SCSI Enclosure Services (SES) is no longer required for Storage Spaces Direct to be compatible, this unlocks a breath of new hardware which was not capable of running S2D. Storage Spaces Direct now also supports Persistent Memory (aka. Storage Class Memory), this unlocks a new class of extremely low latency storage which is incredibly interesting in particular as a caching device. Storage Spaces Direct now also supports Direct-connect SATA devices to AHCI controller, again this will expand the hardware ecosystem compatible with S2D as well as unlock a new class of low cost hardware. In this preview we have also enabled the Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) Cache is enabled by default, which delivers an in-memory write-through cache that can dramatically boost VM performance.
In this preview we have introduced enhancements to Azure enlightened Failover Clusters, with enhanced eventing on host maintenance events and nodes about to be in host maintenance are excluded from placement. By making high availability software running inside of an Azure IaaS VM be aware of maintenance events of the host, it can help deliver the highest levels of availability for your applications.
Dedup support for ReFS and Storage Spaces Direct
There's also one known issue to be aware of:
- Testing of the Windows core may fail because of a timeout while attempting to load the test libraries.
There were eight known issues in the last build, 17046, so it's safe to say that this is a marked improvement.
This build is available as either an ISO or in VHDX format, which you can download here. It will expire on July 2, which is the same date as the previous builds from this version. The final update, however, should still be available this spring as version 1803.