Microsoft Windows Server 2016 hits general availability

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Windows Server 2016 Tagline
Windows Server 2016 Tagline

Today Microsoft Windows Server 2016 has hit general availability which is the big milestone in the OSes development. You can read more on the Microsoft Blog. Although STH has swapped to be a (mostly) Linux and FreeBSD shop over the last few years, Windows Server is a huge architectural component for many companies. And yes, we do have Windows Server hardware in the STH infrastructure.

Perhaps the biggest change with Windows Server 2016 is that the company is clearly adopting a cloud hosting model. Many of the changes in Windows Server 2016 are specifically designed to solve the problems around running applications on clusters of servers. The new Windows Server 2016 supports containers, storage spaces direct, major Hyper-V enhancements and the new Nano Server are all examples of how Microsoft’s Windows Server 2016 is attacking scale-out architectures.

Windows Server 2016 Key New Features
Windows Server 2016 Key New Features

The Windows Server 2016 feature set is clearly aimed at VMware. Microsoft has features to directly compete with its virtualization rival and touts Windows Server 2016 enhancements as closing the gap significantly. Microsoft’s vision of a hybrid cloud with Windows Server 2016 physical machines in a company’s data centers along with its Azure services is a strong proposition. We saw at VMworld 2016 that VMware is focusing on managing hybrid clouds as the go-forward enterprise IT architecture. At the same time, rumors are swirling that we are about to hear a VMware and AWS partnership which will certainly put more pressure on Microsoft.

We will have much more on Microsoft Windows Server 2016 solutions in the coming weeks and months. The hardware industry has been keenly eyeing this release as it offers administrators easier access to some of today’s hottest trends such as software defined networking, software defined storage and containers. We are excited for some of the solutions we have previewed thus far and will have more on those announcements when they arrive.

Big Changes to Licensing

As anticipated, Microsoft is transitioning Windows Server 2016 from a processor to a core-based licensing model.

To give you a more consistent licensing experience across multi-cloud environments, we’re transitioning from processor-based licensing to core-based licensing with Windows Server 2016 Datacenter and Standard editions. For specific pricing, contact your Microsoft reseller.

While Windows Server 2016 Essentials is still on the processor-based model, the new core-based licensing will have an impact on server selection.

Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Pricing
Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Pricing

We expect fewer, higher-frequency cores to become more popular. This is similar to the transition we saw in the database market. Server vendors and component suppliers (e.g. Intel and AMD) have had previews of this change for some time and we fully expect that next-generation launches will further consider licensing when product lines are defined.

Where to look for more about Microsoft Windows Server 2016

For those looking to see a quick overview, here is a simple comparison of Windows Server 2016’s new features as compared to Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

Here is the official Windows Server site.

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