Windows Server 2016 has officially been released, to learn more about the new operating system, and how you can get a server that runs Windows Server 2016, click here.
Windows Server 2016 is the beginning of a new direction for the Microsoft operating system.
(This is for the latest release, Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 4)
At the heart of the Microsoft Cloud Platform, Windows Server brings Microsoft’s experience delivering global-scale cloud services into your infrastructure. Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 4 provides a wide range of new and enhanced features and capabilities. Spanning server virtualization, storage, software-defined networking, server management and automation, web, and application platform, access and information protection, virtual desktop infrastructure, and more.
Windows Server 2016 Editions
Microsoft has revealed two versions of Windows Server 2016: Datacenter Edition and Standard Edition. Here is a brief overview of each edition:
- Windows Server 2016 Datacenter Edition – Highly virtualized private and hybrid cloud environments.
- Windows Server 2016 Standard Edition – Non-virtualized or lightly virtualized environments
Also, Microsoft has also informed us that other editions will be available with more information coming later this year. If the editions remain the same as Windows Server 2012 R2, then we can expect an Essentials Edition and a Foundation Edition.
Windows Server 2016 Edition Comparison
|Datacenter Edition||Standard Edition|
|Windows Server Core Functionality||
|OSEs / Hyper-V containers||
|Windows Server containers||
|New Storage Features including Storage Spaces Direct and Storage Replica||
|New Shielded Virtual Machines and Host Guardian Service||
|New networking stack||
Windows Server Technical Preview 5 (TP5)
Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5 (TP5) is the last public test build before Microsoft delivers Windows Server 2016 to us this fall. So, the last release before RTM (release to manufacturing) provides a wide range of new and enhanced features and capabilities. Spanning server virtualization, storage, software-defined networking, server management and automation, web, and application platform, access and information protection, virtual desktop infrastructure, and more.
Windows Server 2016 TP5 Features
Tp5 is considered to be “feature-complete” and contains very few feature changes from what was in Windows Server 2016 TP4. Some of the changes from TP4 to TP5 include:
- Improvements to security features such as shielded virtual machines
- Nano Server deployment mode
- Increased support for mixed environments
- Operations Manager updates
- Also, Configuration Manager updates
So, according to Microsoft, there are many other changes as well.
The Docker Engine and ecosystem is also supported in Windows Server 2016 TP5, which is good news for developers. Learn more about how Docker and Windows Server 2016 integrate, and learn how to set it up in TP5 on the Docker Blog.
Where Does TP5 Leave Us?
So, TP5 doesn’t do much to drastically change anything we already know about Windows Server 2016. So, most of the features released in the preview had already been previously detailed and Microsoft has confirmed the fall release time frame. As if anything, Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5 just confirms what we already know. So, this is good, it means everything is on track and we should see an on-time release!
Windows Server Pricing and Licensing Info (Updated 3/18)
The biggest change for Windows Server pricing is the switch from per processor pricing to per core pricing. So, this won’t change the cost of Windows Server licenses for most, but then core dense servers and older servers could end up paying more.
Also, customers with Software Assurance will be able to upgrade to Windows Server 2016 for no additional cost and customers with existing leasing agreements will be able to continue paying per processor until the end of their agreement.
Pricing information based on an Open (NL) ERP license for 16 core licenses:
- Datacenter Edition Pricing: $6,155
- Standard Edition Pricing: $882
Click here to see the official Windows Server 2016 pricing and licensing FAQ.
Cores + CAL Licensing
So, to license a physical server, all cores must be licensed. A minimum of 8 core licenses is required for each physical processor in the server and a minimum of 16 cores is required to be licensed for servers with one processor. Currently, the pricing of 16-core licenses for Windows Server 2016 will be the same as the 2 proc license of the corresponding editions of the Windows Server 2012 R2 version.
Also, a Windows Server CAL will be required for each user and/or device accessing a licensed Windows Server. So, a Windows Server CAL allows access to multiple licenses for Windows Servers and will give the user or device the right to access any edition of Windows Server including earlier versions. An additive CAL may be required for Remote Desktop Services, Active Directory Rights Management Services, and other advanced functionality.
Windows Server 2016 Features
- Active Directory Federation Services: It is possible to configure AD FS to authenticate users stored in non-AD directories, such as X.500 compliant Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) directories and SQL databases.
- Windows Defender: Windows Server Antimalware is installed and enabled by default without the GUI, which is an installable Windows feature.
- Remote Desktop Services: support for OpenGL 4.4 and OpenCL 1.1, performance and stability improvements; MultiPoint Services role (see Windows MultiPoint Server)
- Also, Storage Services: central Storage QoS Policies; is Storage Replicas (storage-agnostic, block-level, volume-based, synchronous and asynchronous replication using SMB3 between servers for disaster recovery). So, the storage Replica replicates blocks instead of files; files can be in use. Also, it’s not multi-master, not one-to-many and not transitive. So, it periodically replicates snapshots, and then the replication direction can be changed.
- Failover Clustering: cluster operating system rolling upgrade, Storage Replicas
- Web Application Proxy: pre-authentication for HTTP Basic application publishing, wildcard domain publishing of applications, HTTP to HTTPS redirection, Propagation of client IP address to backend applications
- IIS 10: Support for HTTP/2
- Windows PowerShell 5.0
- Soft Restart, a Windows feature to speed up the booting process by skipping hardware initialization, and resetting software only.
- Also, Telnet server is not included.
- DHCP: as Network Access Protection was deprecated in Windows Server 2012 R2, in Windows Server 2016 the DHCP role no longer supports NAP
- In addition, the DNS:
- A DNS client: service binding – enhanced support for computers with more than one network interface
- DNS Server: DNS policies, new DDS record types (TLSA, SPF, and unknown records), new PowerShell cmdlets and parameters
- Windows Server Gateway now supports Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE) tunnels
- IP address management (IPAM): support for /31, /32, and /128 subnets; the discovery of file-based, domain-joined DNS servers; new DNS functions; better integration of DNS, DHCP, and IP Address (DDI) Management
- Network Controller, a new server role to configure, manage, monitor, and troubleshoot virtual and physical network devices and services in the datacenter
- Also, Hyper-V Network Virtualization: programmable Hyper-V switch (a new building block of Microsoft’s software-defined networking solution); VXLAN encapsulation support; Microsoft Software Load Balancer interoperability; better IEEE Ethernet standard compliance
- In addition, Rolling Hyper-V cluster update: unlike upgrading clusters from Windows 2008 R2 to 2012 level, Windows Server Technical Preview cluster nodes can be added to a Hyper-V Cluster with nodes running Windows Server 2012 R2. So, the cluster continues to function at a Windows Server 2012 R2 feature level. However, this is until all of the nodes in the cluster have been upgraded and the cluster functional level has been upgraded.
- Storage quality of service (QoS) to centrally monitor end-to-end storage performance and create policies using Hyper-V and Scale-Out File Servers.
- Also, more efficient binary virtual machine configuration format (.VMCX extension for virtual machine configuration data and the .VMRS extension for runtime state data).
- Production checkpoints.
- Hyper-V Manager: alternate credentials support, down-level management, WS-Management protocol.
- Integration services for Windows guests distributed through Windows Update.
- Hot-add and remove for network adapters (for generation 2 virtual machines) and memory (for generation 1 and generation 2 virtual machines).
- Linux secure boot.
- Also, Connected Standby compatibility.
In addition, Microsoft announced a new installation option, Nano Server, a minimal footprint installation option of Windows Server. So, it excludes the graphical user interface, WoW64 (support for 32-bit software) and Windows Installer. However, it does not support console login, either locally or via Remote Desktop Connection. So, all management is performed remotely via Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) and PowerShell. Also, Microsoft engineer Jeffrey Snover claims that Nano Server had 93 percent lower VHD size, 92 percent fewer critical security advisories. Also, 80 percent fewer reboots than Windows Server.
Official Windows Server 2016 Release Date (Updated 7/12)
So, Windows Server 2016 will be released at the Microsoft Ignite event between September 26-30, 2016.
Windows Server 2016 System Requirements
Also, based on the Tp5 release, here are the expected system requirements for Windows Server 2016:
- 1.4 GHz 64-bit processor or faster
- Compatible with x64 instruction set
- Also, Supports NX, DEP, CMPXCHG16b, LAHF/SAHF, PrefetchW and Second Level Address Translation (EPT or NPT)
- 512 MB of RAM or greater
- Also, ECC (Error Correcting Code) type or similar technology
Disk Space Requirements:
- Also, 32GB or greater
- Ethernet adapter with at least gigabit throughput
- Compliant with the PCI-E architecture
- Also, Support for Pre-boot Execution Environment (PXE)
Other Requirements (Required for certain features):
- UEFI 2.3.1c based system
- The firmware that supports secure boot
- Trusted Platform Module
- Graphics device and monitor capable of 1024 x 768 or higher resolution
- Keyboard and Mouse
- Also, Internet Access
Upgrading to Windows Server 2016
In addition, Microsoft is introducing a new feature with Windows Server 2016. Aimed at making the upgrade from Windows Server 2012 R2 easier. Again, the feature, called Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade, works by adding Windows Server 2016 server, then nodes to a Windows Server 2012 cluster. So, this causes the cluster to operate in a Mixed-OS mode.
In the end, what are the benefits of this new feature? Zero downtime upgrades for Hyper-V and Scale-out File Server clusters, no need for a second cluster, and no need to copy storage data. Also, to read more about the upgrade process go to the Windows Server Blog.
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