Windows Server vNext Insider Preview build 20206 out now with a few new features

Microsoft today announced Windows 10 vNext build 20206 with a bunch of input improvements. As is customary, the firm also released the corresponding SDK preview build 20206. The firm is also releasing a new Windows Server vNext build 20206. The build is a preview for the Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) release and brings a few new improvements.

Windows Server builds were being released along with Windows 10 builds since January, but no new features were being announced. The company finally detailed new features starting with Windows Server vNext build 20201. Today’s release brings a few improvements to the SMB protocol and Storage Migration Services.

Here is the full changelog for today’s build:

File Services: SMB improvements

We’ve expanded the SMB 3.1.1 protocol in Windows Server vNext with a number of security and performance capabilities, including:

  • AES-256 – Windows Server now supports AES-256-GCM and AES-256-CCM cryptographic suites for SMB Encryption and Signing. Windows will automatically negotiate this more advanced cipher method when connecting to another computer that supports it, and can also be mandated through Group Policy. Windows Server still supports AES-128 for down-level compatibility.
  • Compression – You can now copy files over SMB with compression using the Robocopy /compress and Xcopy /compress If the destination computer supports SMB compression and the files being copied are compressible, you should see significant performance improvements. For more information and a demo of this behavior, visit the ITOps Talk Blog. Any patched Windows Server 2019 and Windows 10 computers already support compression; now you will have command-line tools to make use of it.
  • RDMA encryption – SMB Direct over RMDA networks now supports encryption. Previously, enabling SMB Encryption would disable direct data placement, making RDMA performance as slow as TCP. Now data is encrypted before placement, leading to relatively minor performance degradation while adding AES-256 protected packet privacy.
  • East-West storage encryption – Windows Server failover clusters now support granular control of encrypting and signing intra-node storage communications for Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) and the storage bus layer (SBL). This means that when using Storage Spaces Direct, you can decide to encrypt or sign east-west communications within the cluster itself for higher security.

Storage Migration Services improvements

Today marks our introduction of third generation of Storage Migration Service improvements, including:

  • AFS Tiering support preview – SMS now supports migrating data to a server configured with Azure File Sync cloud tiering, which allows you to overprovision storage while dehydrating data to Azure Files in the cloud. SMS now understands this scenario and can slow or pause transfers to allow AFS to catch up in it tiering to the cloud. This feature also makes changes to the SMS extension in Windows Admin Center, which will release separately to the feed at a later date. Please follow the Microsoft FileCab blog for updates.
  • Scenarios backported to Windows Server 2019 are included – Cluster, Samba-Linux migration support, Local security principal migration, and Inter-network migration were all added as backported features to Windows Server 2019 since its release. If you had not patched, you would not have access to them. They are now included out-of-the-box in Windows Server vNext.

We have also recently completed two new customer-requested Storage Migration Service scenarios and will be releasing them to Insiders in the coming months. Check the release notes and the Microsoft FileCab blog for updates.

Users who want to go ahead and download ISOs can do so from here. The firm adds that the ISOs are available in 18 languages and in English for the VHDX format. The firm has also provided activation keys for the preview builds in the blog post.

Since these builds are vNext builds, they do not indicate when they will exactly be released for LTSC users. Windows 10 LTSC releases usually align with Windows Server releases, so it will be interesting to see what version of the LTSC release do these features eventually become a part of.

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