The Best New Features In Windows Server 2016


Windows Server 2016, Microsoft aims to assist customers in modernizing on-premise data centers and making it easier to move workloads out to its Azure public cloud. This means embracing trends such as containers and microservice architectures, as well as more general improvements including rolling upgrades for Hyper-V visualization and improved identity management.

In our Last topic we have discussed about the Installation procedures for Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview and now will see about the various the best new features in Windows Server 2016.

So what should you expect from Windows Server 2016 when it launches later this year? Here are some of the main features so far…

Nano Server

  • Nano Server is a pared down headless version of Windows Server.
  • Nano Server will have a 93% smaller VHD size, 92% fewer critical bulletins and 80% fewer required reboots.
  • Nano Server is a Windows Server installation options and it’s completely headless – there’s no GUI and no command prompt.
  • Nano Server 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 biggest change in Windows Server 2016 will be support for containers.

•    Containers are the latest buzz in IT technology as they threaten to supplant virtualization as a core IT technology.
•    Containers enable you to isolate your applications from the underlying OS improving the deployment and reliability of those applications.
•    Windows Server 2016 will provide 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 OS.
•    Hyper-V Containers provide enhanced isolation by running the containers from a Hyper-V VM. The current preview release doesn’t support containers yet.

Docker Support

•    Docker is an open-source engine that’s used for building, running and managing containers.

•    Docker containers were originally built for Linux but the next version of
•    Windows Server will provide built-in support for the Docker engine as well. A new open-source Docker engine project has been built for Windows Server with Microsoft participating as an active open source community member.
•    You can use Docker to manage Windows Server and Hyper-V Containers.

Hyper-V Rolling upgrades and Storage clusters

One of the biggest new changes for Hyper-V in Windows Server 2016 is rolling upgrades for Hyper-V clusters.

•    The new rolling upgrades feature allows you to add a new Windows Server 2016 node to a Hyper-V cluster with nodes that are running Windows Server 2012 R2.
•    The cluster will continue to run at the Windows Server 2012 R2 functional level until all of the cluster nodes have been upgraded to Windows Server 2016.
•    When the cluster has mixed level nodes the management must be done from Windows Server 2016 or Windows 10.
•    New VMs on a mixed cluster will be compatible with the Windows Server 2012 R2 feature set.

Hyper-V hot Add NIC’s and Memory

Another great new feature in Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V is the ability to add and remove virtual memory and virtual network adapters while the virtual machine is running.

•    In previous releases you need 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 even if the VM is using static memory. Likewise, you add and remove network adapters while VM is running.

Here are the Links to complete Details about the Active Directory concepts and installations procedures.

Nested Virtualization

Have you ever needed to virtualize a Hyper-V host? I have! I am a trainer and use demo environments with virtualized servers every day, but building a lab to demonstrate concepts of a Hyper-V host meant we had to pull together some physical hardware.

This is no more. Using “meta” virtualization we can virtualize a Hyper-V hypervisor through nested virtualization!

PowerShell Direct

PowerShell is a great management automation tool but it can be complicated to get it to run remotely against your VMs.

You need to worry about security policies, firewall configurations and your host networking configuration.
PowerShell Direct enables you to run PowerShell commands in the guest OS of a VM without needing to go through the network layers. Like VMConnect (the remote console support provided by the Hyper-V Manager) it requires zero configuration it connects directly to the guest VM and all you need are authentication credentials for the VM’s guest OS.

Linux Secure Boot

Another new feature in Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V is the ability to enable secure boot for VMs with Linux guest operating systems.

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. Previously, Generation 2 VMs supported Secure Boot for Windows 8/8.1 and Windows Server 2012 VMs but not VM’s running Linux.

New Host Guardian Service And Shielded VMs

The Host Guardian Service is a new role in Windows Server 2016 that enables shielded virtual machines and protects the data on them from unauthorized access – even from Hyper-V administrators.

Shielded VMs 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

Expanding capabilities in software-defined storage with an emphasis on resilience, reduced cost, and increased control.
•    Virtual Machine Storage Path resiliency, enabling virtual machines to pause and restart gracefully in response to either transient or permanent storage path failures
•    Storage Spaces Direct to enable aggregation of Storage Spaces across multiple servers, pushing the cost of storage down while allowing for increased scale out
•    Storage quality of service (QoS) for more control and predictable performance
•    Storage Replica, giving you synchronous storage replication for affordable business continuity and disaster recovery strategies

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