Microsoft Windows Server OS (operating system) is a suite of enterprise-class server operating systems designed to share services with multiple users and provide comprehensive administrative control over data storage, applications and corporate networks.
Development for Windows Server began in the early 1980s when Microsoft produced two operating systems, MS-DOS and Windows NT. Microsoft engineer David Cutler developed the Windows NT kernel with the intention of providing speed, security and reliability that large organizations needed in a server operating system. Before the release of Windows NT, many companies relied on the Unix operating system that required expensive RISC-based hardware to run file and print services. Windows NT had the ability to run on less expensive x86 machines.
A key feature in the NT architecture is symmetric multiprocessing, which allows applications to run faster on machines with multiple processors. Later versions of Windows Server can be deployed on hardware in an organization's data center or on a cloud platform, such as Microsoft Azure.
Key features in later versions of Windows Server include Active Directory, which automates management of user data, security and distributed resources, and enables interoperability with other directories; and Server Manager, a utility to manage server roles and make configuration changes to local or remote machines.
Windows Server is a version of Windows built and designed to meet business needs. In appearance and naming, Windows Server resembles the versions of Windows designed for everyday use, such as Windows 10. This is by design, since each Windows Server release corresponds to a Windows version, and both operating systems share the same codebase; for example, Windows Server 2019 corresponds to Windows 10.
But although the two operating systems are very similar, Windows Server is built and designed to meet business, and specifically server, needs. For example, Windows Server features tools needed to allow administrators to better control networks and data storage, as well as having administrative features useful for access management.
Somewhat confusingly, Windows Server editions come in three versions, each suitable for different business uses:
Windows Server versions are available that correspond to user releases of Windows; however, not all versions of Windows Server are still officially supported by Microsoft. Companies using unsupported operating systems should upgrade whenever possible to ensure they get the latest security and IT updates. Windows Server 2019 is the oldest version of Windows Server still supported by Microsoft.
Windows Server 2022 is the newest version of Windows Server, corresponding to the recently released Windows 11.
Although Windows Server 2022 and Windows Server 2019 both share the same core functionality, Microsoft has made some notable additions to the latest Server version. For example, Windows Server 2022 has enhanced security features, updates to the Windows Admin Center and an improved Kubernetes experience.
One of the most important steps in preparing for a Microsoft certification exam is becoming familiar with the exam skills overview. Studying is an essential part of preparing for a certification exam. To be fully prepared for the exam, OEM offers several Windows Server training courses.
Microsoft has strict rules regarding the types of study aids to prepare for its exams. The company will invalidate a certification if it determines that the exam participant used a resource with real exam questions, such as so-called "brain-dump" sites or practice exams from questionable sources. Training through OEM is always legitimate, official and excellent preparation for the actual exam.
The benefits of Windows Server make it worth the cost for many businesses. While not every small business needs a server, those that do will likely find that Windows Server provides the necessary capabilities, along with a number of other benefits.
Some of the key benefits of Windows Server include:
Windows Server is a fully capable and supported operating system. However, depending on business needs and existing network architecture, Windows Server may or may not be ideal for every business. Factors such as cost can also play a major role in determining whether Windows Server is right for a company. However, most businesses will find that Windows Server effectively meets their needs; however, some businesses benefit more from using Windows Server than others.
Some of the business types that should use Windows Server are:
Courses for Windows Server are suitable for any IT professional, whether private or business. According to your already acquired training and knowledge, you choose which Windows Server training you start with, or continue with. Do you need advice? Then we are at your service via phone, chat and email.
For each online training course purchased, you have 1 year of access. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for up to 365 days. So you decide when and how long you learn for the training. Is the daytime not convenient? The evening and night are available to you. Even if you go on vacation for a few weeks, this is no problem and you simply pick it up again after your well-deserved vacation.
Whether you are preparing for the exam or not, taking Windows Server certification training will teach you the essential skills to make your IT career a success. Check out the list below for Microsoft certifications and skills in a specific role.
IT professionals with one foot on premises and another in the Microsoft cloud now have a customized certification to prove their Windows Server expertise in both environments.
Administrators who manage Windows Server systems and want to demonstrate their knowledge of Microsoft's Server OS will want to train for the Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate certification. A Microsoft certification is an asset for IT professionals to prove their skills to (future) employers or to meet requirements or initiatives within their current organization. In addition to practical experience, a Microsoft certification gives IT professionals a way to prove their skills and experience. Therefore, Microsoft certifications are widely considered a worthwhile investment.
The Microsoft certification program has been around for decades but has evolved significantly in recent years. For most of its history, Microsoft certifications were tied to specific Microsoft products. At one time, for example, Microsoft's most basic certification was the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) certification, which usually demonstrated proficiency with a single Microsoft product, such as Windows.
Other certifications were designed to document a thorough understanding of products that were somehow related. In the 1990s, for example, Microsoft offered a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) certification that required candidates to pass a series of six exams. One of the exams focused on general networking, but the other five were product-related. Over time, Microsoft phased out the MCSE certification, although it later returned in a new form, and created other multi-exam certifications, such as the Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certifications.
More recently, Microsoft has tailored its certification programs to functions rather than products. Microsoft now focuses its certification programs on various technical roles, including developers, administrators, data scientists and DevOps engineers. With this approach, candidates focus on the skills they need for their job, or a job they want, rather than learning how each product feature works even if there is no chance they will ever use that functionality in their work.
As indicated by the hybrid designation, candidates for the Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate certification are expected to implement and manage cloud services used in the data center and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) workloads that use Azure for various cloud-based tasks, such as storage or load-balancing.
The two exams available for the Windows Server 2022 certifications are:
The main focus areas of the certifications are:
Microsoft role-based certifications, such as the Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate certification, are valid for one year from the date the last required exam was taken. To keep the certification active, you must take a renewal exam before the expiration date.
Earn certifications that show you are up to date with current technical features and requirements. Microsoft Windows Server has certification tracks for many technical functions. Each of these certifications consists of taking a series of exams to earn the certification.
A Windows Server Certification is a test of your knowledge and skills related to server administration. Windows Server Certification is worth the investment, and the value it adds to your skills and to your resume outweighs the cost of the training. Let's delve deeper into the benefits of this Microsoft certification.
Beat the competition
Although there is a real skills shortage in the IT industry, and there are more IT jobs than there are professionals to fill them, the really good jobs that pay well are hard to find. And when they are there, they are filled quickly. Competition is getting fiercer by the day, and a Microsoft certification on your resume can certainly help you get shortlisted for your dream job. Certified IT professionals earn 16% more than their non-certified counterparts, regardless of their industry experience.
Better opportunities for growth
As you prepare for Windows Server Certification, you will gain new knowledge and acquire new skills. You will use these skills to become better at your job. This means you will get things done efficiently and effectively, and have the bandwidth to take on more responsibilities. This results in job enrichment and new growth opportunities within (and outside) the organization.
Get hired faster
With a Microsoft Exam and Certification Badge on your resume, your hiring process will be faster. 91% of hiring managers have added IT certification to their hiring criteria. These Microsoft badges are a sign that you have passed all exams. Career profiles skyrocket with a list of similar certifications.
That said, with more IT certifications in your pocket, you can easily pass other applicants. However, that does not mean that obtaining these certifications is easy. Employers value certifications because of the extensive training required to obtain them.
1993: Windows NT 3.1 Advanced Server
Microsoft released its Windows NT operating system in two formats: one for workstations and one for servers. The 32-bit operating system included a hardware abstraction layer (HAL), which provided more system stability by blocking applications from direct access to system hardware. Companies could use Advanced Server as a domain controller to store user and group permissions.
1994: Windows NT 3.5 Server
Microsoft revamped key networking features in this server release, adding integrated support for TCP/IP and Winsock. Other network enhancements allowed users on other non-Microsoft operating systems to access files and applications on the domain.
1995: Windows NT Server 3.51
Microsoft refined this version to improve performance and reduce the amount of memory required. This server OS was optimized to provide faster services to users through its updated network stack. Microsoft added more connectivity support for businesses in a mixed environment with both Windows NT and NetWare servers to allow users to get services from each with a single credential.
1996: Windows NT Server 4.0
Microsoft borrowed the Windows 95 interface for this server OS release and also used many of the applications in the client OS, such as the File Explorer. Microsoft expanded the network protocol capabilities in this release to make network resources available to a wider range of non-Microsoft machines. Important features in this release were the ability to use a server as an Internet Information Server -- now called Internet Information Services (IIS), and as a server for the domain name system. This server OS could also guide administrators through various tasks, such as sharing a hard drive with a feature called Administrative Wizards.
2000: Windows 2000
Windows 2000 introduced Active Directory, a directory service that stores and manages information about network objects, including user data, systems and services. Active Directory allows administrators to perform various tasks, such as configuring virtual private networks, data encryption and granting access to file shares on networked computers.
Microsoft also introduced several other important features in this release, including; Microsoft Management Console (MMC), NTFS 3.0 file system and support for dynamic disk volumes. Windows 2000 had three editions (Server, Advanced Server and Datacenter) built to work with Windows 2000 Professional, the client OS.
2003: Windows Server 2003
Microsoft introduced the "Windows Server" brand with the release of Windows Server 2003 and touted security improvements over Windows 2000. Microsoft hardened IIS, the Web server feature, and disabled more standard services to limit exploit opportunities.
Microsoft introduced server roles with this release, allowing administrators to assign a specific function to a server, such as domain controller or DNS server. Other new features in this release included expanded encryption features, a built-in firewall, increased support for Network Address Translation (NAT) and Volume Shadow Copy Service. Windows Server 2003 had four editions: Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter and Web.
2005: Windows Server 2003 R2
Instead of a version number, Microsoft began using the designation R2 with Windows Server 2003 R2 - or release two. Organizations always had to buy a new Windows Server license to use the new server operating system, but R2 releases used the client access licenses (CALs) from the immediately preceding server version, so those licenses did not need to be upgraded. This release improved the security and safety features in Windows Server 2003.
Key new features in this release were: Active Directory Federation Services, which allows administrators to extend single sign-on access to applications and systems outside the corporate firewall.
Active Directory Application Mode, which stores data for applications that may not be considered secure enough for use in the Active Directory system.
This release also added enhancements to file replication and data compression for branch servers. Among the security enhancements in this release was the Security Configuration Wizard, which allows administrators to apply consistent security policies to multiple machines.
2008: Windows Server 2008
Windows Server 2008 added new features such as: Hyper-V virtualization software, failover clustering, Event Viewer, Server Core - the minimum deployment option managed through the command line, and Server Manager console, used to add and manage server roles and features on local and remote machines. Microsoft also revised the networking stack and Active Directory to improve Group Policy and identity management capabilities.
Windows Server 2008 is available in four editions: Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter and Web.
2009: Windows Server 2008 R2
Microsoft used its Windows 7 kernel for this server operating system and touted its improved scalability and availability features. Microsoft enhanced Active Directory for better handling of user accounts and more granular control with policies. The company also updated Terminal Services functionality and renamed it Remote Desktop Services (RDS). New features in this release are BranchCache and DirectAccess, both aimed at improving the way users can get work done at remote locations.
This server operating system, like its predecessor, shares some of the management and security functionality used in the Windows Vista client operating system. Windows Server 2008 R2 also marked a change from a 32-bit server operating system to a 64-bit version.
2012: Windows Server 2012
Microsoft added a number of cloud-related features to Windows Server 2012 and even went so far as to call it the "Cloud OS," making it easier for organizations to run services in public or private clouds. The company also made significant updates to the operating system's storage infrastructure and Hyper-V virtualization platform. Notable new features in this release were the Hyper-V virtual switch, Hyper-V Replica, Storage Spaces and the ReFS file system.
Another change with this release is that Microsoft changed the default installation option to Server Core, which requires administrators to use PowerShell. At this release, PowerShell had 2,300 cmdlets available for administration.
This server version came in four editions: Essentials, Foundation, Standard and Datacenter. The Standard and Datacenter editions had the same feature set, but a Standard license allowed organizations to run two virtual machines (VMs), while Datacenter allowed an unlimited number of VMs.
2013: Windows Server 2012 R2
Microsoft made major changes across the board with Windows Server 2012 R2, including major updates to virtualization, storage, networking, information security and Web services.
Notable new features: Desired State Configuration (DSC) built on PowerShell to prevent configuration drift and maintain consistency across organizational machines.
Storage tiering added to Storage Spaces increases performance by automatically moving frequently accessed blocks of data to solid-state storage.
Work Folders allows users to retrieve and store corporate files on work and personal devices via replication to servers in the organization's data center.
2016: Windows Server 2016
Microsoft brought enterprises closer to the cloud with a number of new features tailored to ease workload migrations, such as support for Docker containers and software-defined networking enhancements.
Microsoft introduced Nano Server, a minimal server deployment option designed to improve security by reducing the attack vector. According to Microsoft, Nano Server is 93% smaller than a full Windows Server deployment. The new Hyper-V shielded VM feature, which uses encryption to prevent data in a VM from being compromised, is another nod to security. The Network Controller is an important new networking feature that allows administrators to manage switches, subnets and other devices on virtual and physical networks.
This server operating system comes in Standard and Datacenter editions. In previous Windows Server versions, the Standard and Datacenter editions had the same feature set but different licensing and usage restrictions. In Windows Server 2016, the Standard edition does not have the more advanced virtualization, storage and networking features.
2017: Semi-annual Channel and Long-Term Servicing Channel releases
In June 2017, Microsoft announced that it would split Windows Server into two channels: the Semi-Annual Channel (SAC) and the Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) -- formerly the Long-Term Servicing Branch.
The SAC targets enterprises with a DevOps framework that prefer a shorter period between feature updates to get the latest updates for rapid application development cycles. SAC releases come every six months - one in the spring and one in the fall - with mainstream support of only 18 months. Microsoft tailors the LTSC for companies that prefer the more traditional release cycle of two to three years between major feature updates with the typical five years of mainstream support followed by five years of extended support.
The LTSC naming convention will retain the Windows Server YYYY format -- like Windows Server 2016 -- while the SAC releases will follow a Windows Server version YYMM format. Microsoft said it plans to add most of the enhancements -- with some variations -- from the SAC releases to upcoming LTSC releases.
Microsoft released its first SAC release -- Windows Server version 1709 -- in October 2017. Highlights of this release included support for Linux containers with kernel isolation provided by Hyper-V and a refactored Nano Server strictly for use as a base OS container image.
Companies with Software Assurance on their Windows Server Standard or Datacenter licenses or a Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) license can download the SAC releases from Microsoft's Volume Licensing Service Center. Organizations without Software Assurance can use SAC releases in Azure or another cloud or hosting environment.
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