Despite having a lot of its thunder stolen from the release of Windows 10 the Windows Server 2016 release has a flurry of fantastic new features that promise to revolutionize the way we think about and use our data.
There are so many new features that if we were to list them all you may fall asleep. We want you to stay awake so we've shortlisted our top features below!
Perhaps the biggest change in Windows Server is the new Nano Server. The Nano Server is a pared down headless version of Windows Server, which will have a 93% smaller VHD size, 92% fewer bulletins and 80% fewer required reboots. Nano Server is a Windows Server installation option and it’s completely headless – there’s no GUI and no command prompt, it is designed to run Hyper-V, Hyper-V cluster, and Scale-Out File Servers (SOFSs) and cloud service applications.
Windows Server Containers and Hyper-V Containers
The next big change in Windows Server 2016 will be support for containers. Containers are the latest trend in IT technology as they threaten to supplant virtualization as a core IT technology. They enable you to isolate your applications from the underlying operating system, improving the deployment and reliability of the applications. Windows Server 2016 will provides two kinds of native containers: Windows Server Containers and Hyper-V Containers. Windows Server Containers are isolated from each other but they run directly on the Windows Server 2016 operating system. The Hyper-V Containers provide enhanced isolation by running the containers from a Hyper-V VM. The current preview release doesn’t support containers yet, unfortunately.
Windows Server will provide built-in support for the Docker engine. Docker is an open-source engine that’s used for building, running and managing containers. You'll be able to use Docker to manage Windows Server and Hyper-V Containers. Docker containers were originally built for Linux. A new open-source Docker engine project has been built for Windows Server now Microsoft is participating as an active open source community member.
Hot add and remove virtual memory
In Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V provides the ability to add and remove virtual memory and virtual network adapters while the virtual machine is running. This is a big change as in previous releases you had to use dynamic memory to change the minimum and maximum RAM settings of a VM that is running. Windows Server 2016 enables you to change the allocated RAM while the VM is active and even if the VM is using static memory. You can also add and remove network adapters while VM is running.
This feature has been added primarily for the new container support, Windows Server 2016’s nested virtualization capabilities will also be very useful in addition for training and lab scenarios. With nested virtualization you are no longer limited to running the Hyper-V role on a physical server. Nested virtualization enables you to run Hyper-V within a Hyper-V virtual machine.
New Host Guardian Service
The Host Guardian Service role is designed to shield virtual machines and protect the data stored on them from unauthorised access. Shielded virtual machines can be created using the Azure Management Pack Portal. Standard VMs can also be converted to Shielded VMs. With Shielded VMs Hyper-V virtual disks can be encrypted with BitLocker.
Storage Spaces Direct
Windows Server 2016 also has a number of storage system improvements, one of the most important improvements is the new Storage Spaces Direct feature. This feature is the evolution of the previous Storage Spaces technology utilised in Windows Server 2012 R2.
Storage Spaces Direct allows a cluster to access JBOD storage in an external enclosure like Windows Server 2012 R2 or it can also allow access to HBOD and SAS disks that are internal to the cluster nodes. Just like the previous release, Store Spaces form the basis for Storage Pools and they provide support for both SSD and HDD disks and data tiering.
Linux Secure Boot
In Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V the ability to enable secure boot for VMs with Linux guest operating systems is enabled. Secure Boot is a feature of the UEFI firmware specification incorporated in Generation 2 VMs that protects the VM’s hardware kernel mode code from being attacked by root kits and other boot-time malware. Historically, Generation 2 VMs supported Secure Boot for Windows 8/8.1 and Windows Server 2012 VMs but not VM’s running Linux.
If you'd like more details about the other features Windows Server 2016 has to offer contact us today!
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