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Windows Server 2016Microsoft had a strong focus on security, cloud computing, performance and virtualization for the new server operating system. The server is clearly designed for business applications. The Windows commandline was updated with PowerShell 5.1. The Remote Desktop service has been improved and optimized within the compressing of graphics with RDP. The utilized bandwith has been reduced to be suitable also at higher screen resolutions.
It is available only as a 64-bit operating system and includes Windows Azure technology for cloud computing. With the native support for Docker containers, virtual instances can be easily transferred to other computers. This option is initially limited to Windows instances.
The Network File System is included in the current version 4.1, SMB with version 3.1.1. There are optimizations in the area of the network controller, software load balancer and the distributed firewall.
Editions of Windows Server 2016
The new Server operating system will be available in the following editions. The Standard and Datacenter Edition can be installed as Server Core without graphical user interface (Recommended), as Server with graphical user interface (Desktop Experience) or as minimalistic Nano Server.
Windows Server 2016 Essentials
- Designed for small companies up to 25 user and 50 devices
- Cost-effective solution
Windows Server 2016 Standard
- Designed for virtualized or minimalized environments
- Contains the Nano server
- License for up to two operating system environments and Hyper-V Container
- Can be installed with or without user interface (Desktop Experience)
Windows Storage Server 2016
- For OEM storage solutions only, e.g. NAS
- Workgroup Edition for 1 processor, up to 250 concurrent SMB connections, 32 GByte RAM, 50 user and 6 storage drives
- Standard Edition up to 2 processors, no limit for concurrent SMB connections, RAM, user and storage drives
Windows Server 2016 Datacenter
- For data centres with focus on virtualization and Cloud environments
- License for unlimited operating system environments and Hyper-V Container
- Can be installed with or without user interface (Desktop Experience)
Windows Server 2016 MultiPoint Premium Server
- For academic usage only
- Several user can share the same computer
Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2016
- Free of charge, for virtualization usage only
Hardware for Windows Server 2016
The minimum requirements for the new operating system are according to Microsoft a 1.4 ghz 64-bit processor including the features NX, DEP, CMPXCHG16b, LAHF/SAHF, PrefetchW and Second Level Address Translation (EPT or NPT). The requirements for the main memory are 512 mbyte with ECC or similar feature for the Nano Server and 2 gbyte main memory for the installation as server with user interface (Desktop Experience). 32 gbyte free storage drive space is the absolute minimum and not designed for all fields of application.
Furthermore a computer with UEFI 2.3.1.c and Secure Boot is mandatory. The graphic card and display need to support Super VGA with a screen resolution of 1024x768 pixel. The Trusted Platform Module 2.0 is necessary for certain features like BitLocker Drive Encryption.
The Nano Server is a new, lean installation type for Windows Server 2016. It is designed especially for Cloud Environments and application platform to run programs within a Guest VM or Container. Nano Server has no user interface and is running strictly the necessary services only for the selected server role. This lowers the risk of attacks and increase the availability. Positive effect is an increased performance. The effort for updates and scheduled restarts are minimized.
You can chose between the Nano Server roles Hyper-V, Storage, DNS Server and IIS 10.0 Server. Optional features are Container support, Microsoft Windows Defender, Clustering, Desired State Configuration (DSC) and Shielded VM support.
Remote management of the Nano Server is available only over PowerShell, Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-ins or the new Cloud-Service Server Management Tools.
Compared with the predecessor Windows Server 2012 R2 the following new security features are introduced with Windows Server 2016 to protect against attacks.
Shielded Virtual Machines For Windows Server 2016 Datacenter only.
Credential Guard New identity management with privileges to restrict administrative access.
Code Integrity (Device Guard) Protect against unknown vulnerabilities.
Host Guardian Service
Control Flow Guard
Windows Defender Antimalware Protection, user interface optional.
Distributed Firewall For Windows Server 2016 Datacenter only.
Device Health Attestation Service Enables Mobile Device Management (MDM), if the device meets certain guidelines, it is allowed or denied access to the network, services or applications.
Virtual Secure Mode (VSM) Protected environment for isolation from the running operating system. Used by Code Integrity to protect the kernel code, credential guard and shielded VMs for virtual TPM implementation.
SMB 3.1.1 Security Improvements Includes Pre-Authentication Integrity Verification and SMB Encryption with AES-128 so no one can manipulate the connection.
Storage space management
Since the previous server operating system Windows Server 2012 R2, the following storage features have been added for the new Windows Server 2016. The Resilient File System (ReFS) is now the preferred file system for data partitions.
Storage Spaces Direct Easy management of virtual storage space with increased failure protection. Has its own Health Service to simplify monitoring. Available only for Windows Server 2016 Datacenter.
Storage Replica Protects data in clusters. For Windows Server 2016 Datacenter only.
Storage Resiliency Protects VMs from temporary storage errors and pauses them until the disk is available again.
Cluster Rolling Upgrade
Virtualization with Hyper-V
Hyper-V as supervisor support guest VMs for different versions of Windows, Linux distributions and FreeBSD. These include Red Hat Linux, CentOS, Oracle Linux, Debian GNU/Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Ubuntu. With the Linux Integration Services (LIS) or FreeBSD Integration Services (BIS) the integration, administration and performance in the virtual environment is considerably increased. The virtualized environments can be fully centralized and configured via PowerShell.
Compared to the virtualization in the previous Windows Server 2012 R2, the following features have been added.
Hyper-V Support for Nano Server
Virtual Secure Mode (VSM)
Virtual Machine Resiliency
Virtual machine configuration version
Windows PowerShell Direct
Virtualization with Docker
The companies Microsoft and Docker Inc. are business partners to integrate the container technology directly in the new Windows Server 2016. The container technology is often used in application development to virtualize applications and easily migration. The strengths lie in the fast provision of secure cloud services and web servers.
Windows Server Container
Docker Engine for Windows
Emulated Domain Join
Nano Server Developer Experience
Windows Server 2016 was launched officially on 13th October 2016. Microsoft released an evaluation version on 26. September 2016 on their own website within the download area (14393.0.160715-1616.RS1_RELEASE_SERVER_EVAL_X64FRE_EN-US.ISO).
Date - Version
2016 Sept. 26 - Windows Server 2016, Evaluation Edition, Version 10.0.143932016 Oct. 13 - Windows Server 2016, final release