Microsoft has released Windows Server 2016, but what's new? What's been improved? And what hasn't? Hopefully this overview will give you an idea of if it's worth the upgrade or not.
The new Windows Server is updated to contain the Windows 10 operating system and its associated kernel. The main focus point of the latest server from Microsoft seems to be on security (as expected), capacity for virtual machines as well as a few additions for ease of use. It includes new security services such as the Virtual TMP (trusted platform module), which enables your server to support both the Locky-style virus blocker, Bit locker encryption and the password security program, Credential Guard. Credential Guard makes use of the additional virtual machines provided and stores credentials in a spare, highly secure, virtual machine.
New ease of use options are available for those that decide to use a new server include "Just enough" admin access and "Just in time" admin access. "Just enough" admin access allows admins to use a temporary account to perform a specific task. This temporary account will have very restricted access and functionality. This allows admins to act quickly while also increasing security with the limited functionality of the account. "Just in time" allows admins to use a time restricted account that also has limited functionality, making it harder for hackers to use an account that will be deleted within a short amount of time. Both of these additions are yet to be fully perfected, and as a result not fully implemented into all new systems.
This is the slide that was shown at Microsoft's Ignite event in Atlanta, revealing the capacities of the new server. The slide not only shows how the new Server 2016 compares with Microsoft's competitors but also the improvement that Microsoft has made since the Windows Server 2012. The new Server 2016 boasts a 20TB extra per server memory support over the previous Server 2012 along with a major increase in all other capacities.
The only major downfall of the new Server 2016 could be the price tag. If you're a smaller company, then you may find it hard to pay for the large initial fee. There are three different versions to the new server: Datacentre Edition, Standard and Essentials. Microsoft states that "Windows Server Essentials offers a flexible, affordable, and easy-to-use server solution for small businesses with up to 25 users and 50 devices". The lower device number is reflective in the price with Essentials coming in as the cheapest version from around £400. The Essentials version does not need a Windows Server CAL, unlike Standard and Datacentre Edition which both need one. Essentials is also processor based unlike the core-based versions. The next version up is the Standard Server. The Standard 2016 Server costs at least around £700 and Microsoft boasts that it is "Quintessential for any organization with a need for limited virtualization". This version is aimed at the smaller companies that wish to manage their own data and organize a small network, but also don't need to create a huge number of virtual machines. The final and most expensive version of the Windows Server 2016 is the Datacentre Edition. Coming in with a starting price of around £5000 price tag that would be easy enough for large companies to afford but a large chunk of income for a smaller company. The Datacentre Edition includes all features in the previous versions along with the Host Guardian Service, Nano Servers (At extra cost), Storage Spaces Direct and Storage Replica along with Shielded Virtual Machines and Networking Stack. The Datacentre Edition gives the owner complete coverage in all things Windows Server 2016. In an article by The Register they stated that: "Standard includes licenses for just two VMs or Hyper-V Containers running Windows Server, whereas the Datacentre Edition is licensed for unlimited VMs. In addition, Datacentre Edition is required for a few new features, including Storage Spaces Direct, Storage Replica, Shielded Virtual Machines, and advanced networking. Standard starts at $882 for a 16-core license (the minimum), whereas Datacentre Edition starts at $6,155". But if you can afford the licence fees you may want to seriously consider upgrading to the new Windows Server 2016. Sources: First look at Windows Server 2016 Windows Server 2016: Leg up or lock in? Windows Server 2016 Editions, Pricing, Availability, Features
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