Ten reasons why you will love the Microsoft Windows Server 2016

After all the technical tests and product analysis the long awaited launch is almost upon us for Windows Server 2016. Here are ten reasons why you will love Windows Server 2016:

1) PowerShell and DSC – DSC means Desired State Configuration. This allows someone to do the work upfront to define reusable building blocks (DSC resources) that they can stitch together in a configuration which defines exactly what they want their systems to look like; the networking, the storage, the connections to other systems and many more. PowerShell is an automation platform and scripting language for Windows and Windows Server that allows you to simplify the management of your system. There are a few more test tools available to test the PowerShell code and this also includes testing for the DSC code.

2) Active Directory and IdentityThe Windows Server 2016 adds some new features to help you:

  • You can set up new controls for privileged access management
  • For sensitive applications you can set up new controls.
  • It will provide secure user access to corporate resources with both on-premises and in the cloud.
  • You will be able to enable security and access control for mobile application and RESTful services.
  • You will provide broader enterprise user access to corporate resources for both on-premises and in the cloud.

3) Server Management Tools – This is a web based remote GUI which can be used to manage installations of Windows Server 2016 and you will be able to grow in the management capabilities over time. With this tool set it will allow you to manage the Windows Servers wherever they are, whether they are physical or virtual machines in your own data centre or LaaS VMs hosted in the cloud. If you are using other Azure resources, you will be able to view them alongside the server management tools in the single Azure Portal.

4) Remote Desktop Services – There is possibly three main key elements which has been improved for Windows Server 2016. There has been a lot of investment in to the graphics for Windows Server 2016. Also the scale has been looked at and improved and finally they have integrated with Azure.

  • What is new about graphics? They have extended the remote effects graphic adaptor to include Open GL. It has also been opened up to a whole new set of applications which didn’t use DirectX. After this with their friends over in Hyper-V to implement a new technology which has been called DDA (Direct Device Assignment). This is where the graphics GPU is assigned to a specific VM and then you can use the IHVs graphics driver.
  • What is new about Scale? They wanted to solve problems of both scaling down to very small but cost effective deployments and also being able to scale up to very large deployments. For example, one of the things they have done is allow scaling down which now allows their high availability connection broker to be able to utilise a database in an existing SQL Server cluster.
  • What about integration with the cloud?The Azure laaS allows for much more efficient VM architecture, which significantly reducing the number of VMs needed to set up the deployment. Azure Active Directory App Proxy, will enhance the security for cloud-based RDS deployments which should reduce the attack surface. The integration with Azure Active Directory Domain Service, by enabling the “lift and shift” scenarios as customers seek to leverage the power of the cloud without the significant changes to their app configurations. This has opened up a large set of Azure Active Directory functionality for example a single sign on and multi-factor authentication.

5) Software Defined Storage – Windows Server 2016 contains the next evolution of software defined storage from Microsoft: storage replica, storage space direct and storage quality of services. By using these functions, you are able to increase performance, align deployment topology to business scenarios and lower storage costs without introducing the risks to operations. Although previously these features have been exclusively to storage industry vendors, and they charged a premium amount for them.

  • Storage Spaces DirectThis enables operators to combine the commodity hardware with sophisticated availability software at the operating system level, which will provide a great performance for virtual machines.
  • Storage ReplicaThis completes the scenario for stretch clusters, and it replicates the data at the volume level in either synchronous or asynchronous modes, which now available as a feature in your server operating system.
  • Storage QoS This makes it simpler to guard against poor performance in a multitenant environment by allowing for a reliable min and max performance level.

6) Software-defined ComputeMicrosoft has taken the approach of investing into the traditional IT pro features for the infrastructure fabric as well as for the application runtime for the new technologies for example containers and PowerShell in Windows Server 2016. They have invested in the cluster technologies to make the upgrade to Windows Server 2016 and Hyper-V for faster and smoother with the rolling cluster upgrades and the mixed-mode cluster.

7) Software-defined NetworkingThe team at Microsoft have concentrated on network innovation so that IT teams can improve their agility, strengthen the security stance and present the solutions which can change as the requirements evolve, this is so they can deliver the correct infrastructure at or ahead of the schedule. In the context of networking, the agility comes from the ability to successfully navigate the myriad policies around the architectural standards, security requirements, performance demands and the availability concerns without delay.

8) SecurityDuring the last few years, cybersecurity has been rated consistently as Top priority for IT Windows Server 2016 will deliver new layers of protection to help with addressing these emerging threats. So that the server becomes an active component in your security defence. If an attacker gains access to your environment; by running your applications and infrastructure on Windows Server 2016 which provides layers of protection against an internal attacks using the threat resistance technologies such as:

  • Control Flow GuardWill block common attack vectors.
  • Code Integrity Which can control what can by allowed to run on the server.
  • Windows Defender This can detect, protect and report on malware.

9) Containers – They have become an empowering technology for customers on a Windows Server. The Windows containers technology includes two distinct types of containers; Windows Server containers and Hyper-V containers. Both of these types of containers are created, managed and function identically. They will even produce and consume the same container images.

  • Window Server ContainersMultiple container instances can run concurrency on a host with the isolation provided through a namespace, resources control and process isolation. Windows Server containers will share the same kernel with the host as well as each other.
  • Hyper-V Containers – The multiple container instance can run concurrently on a host. Although, each container runs inside of a special virtual machine. This can provide kernel level of isolation between each Hyper-V container and the container host.

10) Nano Server – Windows Server 2016 will improve the experience of all the customers and not just those who are moving to the cloud model. The substantial innovations to Active Directory, .NET, virtualisation, RDS, security, automation and remote management will make the Windows Server 2016 a great release for the customers using it as an Enterprise Server or as a Datacentre Server. Nano Server will be a great example of the innovation customers which need the cloud-era operating system.

It is a new deployment option for the Windows Server 2016, where you start by loading a small image which is 25x smaller than the full image with Windows Server with desktop experience. After this you would only need to add the roles in which you need – this is the “just enough OS” model.