What is Windows Server 2016?
What is Windows Server 2016?
Microsoft Windows Server 2016 is Microsoft’s server operating system (OS). It was specifically developed to serve as a platform for running network applications. Windows Server 2016 was released to general availability on October 12, 2016 and was developed concurrently with Windows 10. Mainstream support for Windows Server 2016 ended on January 11, 2022.
Windows Server 2016 is part of the Windows NT family of operating systems. The Microsoft Windows Server operating system is a series of enterprise server operating systems designed to share services with multiple users, providing extensive administrative control over data storage, applications, and corporate networks.
Microsoft Windows Server 2016 includes new features such as identity management and enhanced security capabilities designed to help organizations access data securely whether it’s stored on-premises, in the cloud, or in a hybrid cloud. Microsoft Windows Server 2016 had three successors, including Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2022, and Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel. Windows Server 2016 is the successor to Windows Server 2012 R2.
Notable Features in Windows Server 2016
A highly anticipated feature of Windows Server 2016 was the inclusion of two native containers: Windows Server Containers and Hyper-V Containers. Windows Server containers run directly on top of the operating system but are isolated from each other. Hyper-V containers provide better isolation and run from a Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machine (VM). Windows Server 2016 also provided built-in support for Docker.
Other new and updated features in Windows Server 2016 include the following:
- Nano-server is a lightweight installation option designed to run exclusively in cloud and container-based scenarios. Nano Server does not include a graphical user interface or traditional .NET framework; administrators manage Nano Server instances remotely using PowerShell and Windows Management Instrumentation. There is also an updated module for creating Nano Server images.
- network controller is a new server role that provides a centralized, programmable point of automation to configure, manage, monitor, and troubleshoot virtual and physical network devices and services. Network Controller can be used with Microsoft System Center products, including Virtual Machine Manager, Operations Manager, and PowerShell.
- Storage Quality of Service (QoS) provides a way to centrally monitor and manage virtual machine storage performance and automatically improves storage resource fairness among multiple virtual machines using the same file server cluster.
- Storage ReplicaA new feature in Server 2016, enables block-level storage-independent synchronous replication between servers or clusters for disaster preparedness and recovery.
- Storage Spaces Direct enables highly available and scalable software-defined storage for servers in local storage. This simplifies the deployment and management of software-defined storage systems.
- Incremental upgrades for Hyper-V and scale-out file server clusters allows users to add a Windows Server 2016 node to a Hyper-V cluster with nodes running Windows Server 2012 R2.
- Memory hot add and remove, officially known as Runtime Memory Resize, allows administrators to add or remove virtual memory and virtual network adapters while the virtual machine is running.
- Just enough administration is a PowerShell toolkit that restricts users to performing only those tasks for which they are authorized within their role.
- Supported encryption The mode provides more protection for virtual machines by default. But it doesn’t offer as much protection as shielded mode.
- Identity and Access Features include Active Directory Certificate Services, Active Directory Domain Services, Active Directory Federation Services, management, and automation.
- Health services helps improve monitoring, operations, and maintenance of cluster resources.
Is Windows Server 2016 still supported?
The first Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview was released on October 1, 2014. A second and third preview were released in May and August 2015, respectively. Windows Server 2016 was officially released on October 12, 2016.
However, general support for Windows Server 2016 ended on January 11, 2022. This means that the operating system only receives security updates, but no enhancements or bug fixes. Extended support is scheduled to end on January 12, 2027. At this time, Windows Server 2016 will no longer receive enhancements or bug fixes.
Minimum system requirements for Windows Server 2016
Windows Server 2016 requires the following hardware:
- a 1.4 GHz processor;
- 512 MB of RAM;
- 32 GB disk space; and
- an Ethernet adapter capable of 1 Gbit/s throughput.
System requirements depend on the user’s system configuration and the features they choose to install. CPU performance, for example, depends on the CPU clock frequency and the number of CPU and cache cores.
What is the difference between Standard and Datacenter editions?
Windows Server 2016 offers different editions, two of which are Standard edition and Datacenter edition. Both editions share many of the same features, but the Datacenter edition is suitable for organizations with heavier workloads, larger virtual infrastructures, and more computing requirements. Although the Datacenter edition lacks many features associated with the Standard edition, it also provides additional features that are not included in the Standard edition.
For example, in the Datacenter edition:
- Users can create an unlimited number of virtual machines, but only one Hyper-V host is available per license.
- Users can create an unlimited number of Windows and Hyper-V containers.
- There are no limitations as to where a server should be hosted. Servers can be hosts or guests.
- Software-defined networking, a feature not available in the Standard edition, allows users to centrally configure and manage their physical and virtual network devices.
- Shielded Virtual Machines, a feature also available in the Standard Edition, help provide secure boot, trusted platform modules, and disk encryption.
- A network controller allows users to simplify the management, configuration and monitoring of their network infrastructure.
Learn more about the features added in the latest version Windows Server operating system, Windows Server 2022.