I’ve had a few customers asking about Microsoft Server 2016. Our team in the Data Center at Symplexity is running through internal deployments of Windows Server 2016, and overall we’re excited about the product.

Microsoft has packed some great new features for this year, and here are what I see as some of the highlights of Windows Server 2016:

• New installation option called Nano Server.  This is a very small footprint installation used for containers and micro services. It is headless, which means there is no local management, it is managed remotely using Power Shell or other Windows Management Tools.

• Server with Desktop Experience gives a Windows 10 interface – this is a welcome update.

• Revamped high performance storage which includes Storage Quality of Services (QoS) policies, this allows you to centrally monitor and manage storage on your virtual machines, and set minimum and maximum performance benchmarks among your VMs.

• Improved Hyper-V which integrates seamlessly with Azure. Another welcome addition as more and more clients are moving to Azure.

• Many new security features, including Shielded Virtual Machines which allows encryption of VMs and application isolation using containers.

One thing that is important to note is the new licensing for Windows Server 2016 which will affect clients with CPUs that have over 8 cores.  The new licensing model is based on cores, not sockets. This per-core licensing model first appeared with SQL server a few years ago, so it isn’t a big surprise to see it in Windows Server 2016; this could result in a change in licensing costs for some configurations when upgrading, but lays the groundwork better licensing models for hybrid and cloud deployments.

One example of such is the Microsoft Azure Hybrid Use Benefit that allows clients to move to the cloud for less using existing Windows Server license and Software Assurance licensing under this new model. Now you can move your existing Windows Server licenses to Azure and take advantage of significant savings if you extend your datacenter to the cloud.

Windows Server 2016 is a welcome update that will benefit most clients, but as with any major software update we recommend that you complete a comprehensive pilot phase and testing before making production changes in your environment. If you are interested in getting Windows Server 2016 on your roadmap, contact your Symplexity account manager today so we can begin the discussion. If you have other questions about Windows Server 2016, you are always welcome to contact us to discuss in further detail.

If you want further input or practical experiences conveyed, you will have to stay tuned to our blog for additional posts as we continue our internal deployments and pilot projects with our clients.

Matt Moran is the Data Center Practice Manager at Symplexity.

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