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What’s New in Server 2016


It’s will soon be here, and it’s better than ever. Windows Server 2016 will be available later this month, and it offers plenty of features to make your life easier. Some of the key updates will be:

  • Nano Servers
  • Containers
  • Storage Spaces Direct
  • Storage Replica
  • Powershell 5
  • Hyper V

Let’s dive into a couple of the features that Windows is really excited about.

Nano Servers

Nano Servers take less than a minute to spin up (literally), creating a zero-footprint, purpose-built server that is lightweight and streamlined for efficiency. No local log on, no 32-bit support, no RDP, or graphical interface results in a low-resource server accessible by packages for configuration and use.

Nano Servers are perfect for infrastructure clusters and “born in the cloud Apps.”

PowerShell 5

We’ve been hearing great things about PowerShell 5. Windows has seamlessly integrated Powershell 5 into Nano Servers. Windows CMDlets enable you to configure and remotely control your Nano Server. For more info about CMDlets and all the wonderful things they can do, watch CBT Nuggets trainer Garth Schulte’s recent PowerShell webinar.  

Nano Servers need a mere 512MB of disk space and 256MB or less of memory. This small and compact design means that Nano Servers are extremely fast. So, even when you need to reboot, it’ll take no time at all. 

Point of fact: Garth actually crashed his Nano Server demo in the webinar above. (Whoops!) He diagnosed and rebooted the problem in about 4 minutes. Pretty slick.


Windows Server 2016 containers are cool. No. Make that really cool. Users will have two customizable options when creating containers, enabling you to get the most out of your containerized environment: Windows Server Containers and Hyper-V Containers.

Windows Server Containers share a common OS kernel with the host and other containers, which allows for application isolation, which decreases application compatibility conflicts while increasing stability.

Meanwhile, Hyper-V containers are completely isolated and run in a highly optimized VM. OS kernels are not shared with the host or with other containers. One bad line of code won’t compromise the entire cluster, but will instead isolate the corrupted container so that the problem can be dealt with in an isolated environment.

Both of these container options are lightweight and highly optimized giving the user the best tools for the job. Just a side note about Hyper V, rolling cluster upgrades mean that your clusters can be upgraded with no downtime, a dream come true. Windows is kind enough to provide us with a list of new Hyper V features, and Garth both covers and demonstrates with Nugget Labs many of these new features.

Storage Spaces Direct

Storage Spaces Direct offers a highly available and scalable storage solution that is locally attached and integrated with the existing SDS (Software Defined Storage) Stack. While Server 2012 restricted users to SATA and SAS disks, Server 2016 allows SATA, SAS, and the wicked fast flash-based NVMe memory. Each node in Windows Storage Spaces Direct can have either internal disks or external SAS-connected JBOD enclosure, furthering your storage customization options.

There are two types of configuration options for Storage Spaces Direct:

  • The disaggregated configuration option separates the compute nodes from the storage nodes, allowing for either type of node to be scaled independently of the other.
  • The Hyper-Converged configuration option has the compute and storage nodes on the same cluster. This allows for co-scaling and eliminates the requirement to configure file server access and permissions, although keep in mind that storage must be scaled in accordance with the cluster/server parameters.

In order to fully outline 2016’s capabilities, you would have to read a novel instead of this blog post. Luckily for you there are a lot of ways to learn about Windows Server 2016. Garth Schulte’s What’s New In Server 2016 video training course highlights what to look forward to with Window’s latest server.

Windows Server 2016 has a lot to offer, so make sure that you take advantage of them!

Not a CBT Nuggets subscriber? Start your free week today and check out Garth’s Server 2016 preview.


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  1. Piotr Szymczak says:

    Has this been removed and if so why?

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