Windows Server 2016: Clouds To The Masses

Windows Server 2016: clouds to the masses

Microsoft has released Windows Server server operating system 2016, adding her support containers and new edition Nano Server. Windows Server 2016 developed a few years and in parallel with improving OPERATING SYSTEM is coming out its preliminary version. From October 1, 2016, is the Windows Server product line, consisting of six 2016 publications: WS 2016 Datacenter, Standard, Essentials, MultiPoint Premium Server CALs, Windows Remote Desktop Services CAL 2016.

  • One of the main directions in the Microsoft Server 2016 was the support of public and private clouds. Many of the innovations in Windows Server 2016 borrowed from Azure and brought to the mainstream level. In Windows Server 2016 also significantly improved Hyper-V hypervisor, adds support for containers and Nano Server-new “stripped-down” version of Windows Server. The goal is still the same native support for cloud-based applications.

In fact, this OS resembles Windows 10 in server performance. The Server uses the same kernel 2016 in Windows 10 Anniversary, and by typing ver at the command prompt, you get the same answer: Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.14393]. In Windows Server 2016 — the same start menu in Windows 10 Anniversary (when installing with the Desktop Experience).

  • What exciting things do you mention? Microsoft is more than 40 new features, including nested virtualization for containers and the Hyper-V deployment of Hyper-V hosts in Azure, or other public clouds. Many of the new Hyper-V tools includes the creation and maintenance of guest VMs.

  • You can change on the fly the virtual disk capacity, memory, add, and delete the virtual network card. Virtual machines can provide discrete access to devices on the PCIe bus, such as disk controllers. And the cluster of Windows Server 2012 R2 with Hyper-V, you can upgrade to Server 2016 without interrupting services.

Of course, some decisions are not cheap, but because it categorized as a mass do not apply. For example, a configuration with two accidents when the different platform Azure systems Stack. Of course, you can run the Azure Stack and on a single server, but rather for testing purposes. However, most of the changes relate to the widest possible range of users.

Updated hypervisor

Numerous improvements to Hyper-V hypervisor has undergone. You can make the following changes:

  • Hyper-V supports client Windows 10.

  • Compatible with Connected Standby.

  • The appointment is for discrete devices.

  • Virtual machine activity monitoring to optimize system resource usage (RCT).

  • The use of alternative accounts when connecting to another Windows Server 2016.

  • The updated Protocol management and other improvements.

It has support for nested virtualization (Nested virtualization) that allows you to run virtual machines on a hypervisor, which itself set in a virtual environment.

This virtual machine can be relevant to developers and simulation of virtual infrastructures, as well as for more practical use of the container application. Eliminated and many previous restrictions.

Now Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machine allows you to allocate up to 12 Tb of RAM (instead of one) and up to 240 virtual processors (instead of 64). Your Hyper-V supports up to 24 TB of RAM. To reduce wasteful loss and hardening to a Hyper-V host, you can run the Nano Server. For the Administration, in this case, you can use PowerShell and remote access.


In Windows Server 2016 received further development of security mechanisms. In particular, in a separate container called Hyper-V Virtual Security Module (VSM) placed the most valuable system data, cryptographic modules Windows Server 2016, the components responsible for the integrity of the kernel, passwords, etc. You cannot access this data even when the system compromised.

  • Another important tool is a virtual TPM (Trusted Platform Module), which allows you to use virtual machines by using the BitLocker encryption capabilities, Credential and Guard for safe storage identification data. Application of Virtual TPM especially true, for example, when placing the VMS in the cloud.

Impressive security solution steel protected, virtual machines — Shielded VM, but for their creation requires Windows Server Datacenter and a separate server running Host Guardian Service for storage of keys and the VM to run on a particular platform.

  • The technology of Shielded VM allows you to create the cloud protected. Virtual machines can access only their owner. The administrator is only authorized to enable or disable such virtual machines. Interfere with their work, read, intercept traffic, change their configuration it has no law. The VM can be Shielded mechanism demanded by hosting providers that provide services of renting virtual servers.

  • The ability to connect a virtual display to the VM tools that Hyper-V VM Shielded also blocked. How to fix VM, if something went wrong, and it will not start? In this case, Microsoft offers a solution to run such a contraption VM Shielded inside another VM. When you create a Shielded VM, you must also take into account that the requirements for system resources they have increased.

  • Superior PowerShell provides more accessible and comprehensive control over Wednesday, which significantly enhances the level of security of the scheme. One of the key security features is administering access rights.

In Windows Server 2016 also appeared tool called Just Enough Administration (JEA). This (JEA) means that administrators can log in under brief accounts, limited to certain roles. That is, the administrator, logging in with infected PC, will not cause much damage. The Windows Credential Guard also limits the possible damage from malware in this scenario. Temporary administration rights (Just in Time Administration) you can provide using Microsoft Identity Manager Privileged Access Manager.

Data storage and Networking-Software Defined

As is known, in the Window Server Storage Spaces by 2012 to create a fault tolerant memory pool on SAS drives connected to the server without the assistance of traditional SAN (Storage Area Network). Storage Spaces Direct gives you the ability to directly connect to the Cluster Server 2016 drives SAS, SATA or SSD. You can use this to create a software-configurable storage system (Software-Defined Storage, SDS).

  • Added the ability to dynamically manage virtual disks Storage bandwidth, Quality of Service (QoS). Storage QoS policies can apply to both the disk subsystem separate virtual machine and VM group.

    Using Storage administrators Replica tools can replicate data between remote servers, clustered systems, and data centers, thereby increasing their disaster recovery and preventing losses at the file system level.

  • To support SDN (Software Defined Networking) in the Server role added 2016 Network Controller. The network controller designed for managing Hyper-V virtual switches, load balance, the rules of virtual firewalls and gateways. VXLAN are also supported (Extensible Virtual Local Area Network).

Nano Server

Nano Server is a more compact version of Server Core. It is convenient to use as a host system to deploy virtual machines, use as a DNS server or IIS to run the applications in containers.

According to Microsoft, the Nano Server on 93% less than the size of the VHD, it requires 80% fewer reboots. Such a system can use for various special functions and tasks. With Nano Server works as on a physical server and VMS. It has no GUI-only tools Sysinternals.

Nano Server convenient to also use Microsoft Cloud Infrastructure Platform to support the cloud services and service applications in a virtual environment, or on physical servers. It can be used to deploy the compute clusters and build horizontally scalable file storage.


An important difference between Windows Server 2016 from previous versions of Microsoft server operating systems support technologies. Windows Server containers are part of the open source project Docker. They allow you to run applications in isolated Wednesday on different platforms, deploy rapidly and move them between servers.

  • Windows supports two types of containers — containers and containers of Windows Server Hyper-V. Lightweight server containers do not require a Windows license. Windows Server containers operate like Docker containers for Linux platform. They share the operating system kernel, which makes them more compact and flexible than conventional virtual machines.

  • Windows Server containers share OS resources but behave as independent operating system instances. Wednesday, however, Windows Server, you cannot run the Linux container and vice versa. Container to run his image comes from the repository (public or private) and, if necessary, modified.

  • Hyper-V separate containers Virtualization Tools have their copy of the Windows kernel, and the Standard Edition license for them no needed. Such containers have a higher isolation level, compared to the virtual machines. This approach is more demanding to resources on the server, but the server OS improves stability and reliability of containers.

Managed both containers in the same way. Office containers, Windows Server, and Hyper-V can be carried out both using PowerShell and WMI and Docker tools. The latter provide a centralized administration Wednesday and allow you to control container applications in Windows Server or Linux Wednesday.

A good option for deployment containers — Nano Server. However, it should remember that Nano Server is a stripped-down Windows. If IIS, for example, it works, the.NET Framework is already there (the only cross-platform.NET Core). Not all applications are currently compatible with Nano Server.

Docker Windows in containers far initially. Take time for their administrators have mastered, and developers brought to mind. Microsoft will also need to replenish the relevant options available tools like Visual Studio.

Other opportunities

In Windows Server implemented in 2016 and a host of other innovations. The system has a new mechanism for downloading and distributing updates, operating on the principle of peer-to-Peer BitTorrent protocol, SSH protocol support. Windows Server 2016 comes with Windows Management Framework 5.1 and a new version of PowerShell, using.NET Framework 4.6.

  • Updated Windows PowerShell allows you to operate more cmdlets (cmdlets) that perform different management tasks. In particular, PowerShell cmdlets for managing offers five local users and groups and Get-ComputerInfo for detailed information about the system.

Innovation and Active Directory services. You can now use smart cards for evaluation keys. Active Directory domain services (AD DS) provide an even higher level of security when identifying corporate and personal devices.

  • A new virtual machine configuration file format (. . VMCX FILE and. VMRS) with a greater degree of protection from crashing at the storage level, adds the ability to download guest operating systems securely, Linux and OpenGL and OpenCL foreign service Desktop Remote Desktop Service (RDS).

    The host OS update mechanism of the cluster without stopping (the Operating System Cluster Rolling Upgrade) with zero downtime to update cluster consistent updates its separate nodes.

    The Windows Server IP Toolkit also includes 2016 Address Management (IPAM), allows you to simplify the management of IP addresses. Of course, all the innovations of the new OS in one article it is impossible to tell, and this is only a very sketchy “first look.”

Windows Server editions 2016

How many versions of the Windows Server 2016? Good question. The above mentioned six. There are Standard Edition and Datacenter, different licensing schemes.

  • The standard includes licenses for only two VMS or containers under Hyper-V Windows Server, whereas the number of VM Datacenter is not limited. Datacenter version will need to work with some new tools, including Storage Spaces Direct Storage Replica, Shielded Virtual Machine, and some networking functions. The Standard Edition of worth $882. To 16 cores. Datacenter will cost at least $6155.

The following are features that are only in the editions of Windows Server Datacenter 2016:

  • Storage Spaces Direct-expansion technology Storage Spaces to create highly available clustered storage;

    Replica storage is a technology block replication of data between repositories;

    Shielded Virtual Machines — content protection technology, Hyper-V virtual machines;

    Host Guardian Service is a server role that is designed to support secure virtual machines (VM Shielded) and prevent unauthorized access;

    Network Fabric is a centralized monitoring and management of network infrastructure;

    Microsoft Azure Stack — support SDN stack to build hybrid solutions.

  • Nano Server licensed as Windows Server, but require Software Assurance license instead of the base and not sold separately. There are free Windows Hyper-V Server that is used only as a Hyper-V host, as well as the version of Windows Server Essentials for small businesses up to 25 users and 50 devices for which you do not need CALs (Client Access Licenses). Essentials worth $501, but there are cheaper OEM versions. OEM versions of Windows Server Foundation no longer supplied.

There are a couple of special editions: Windows Storage Server for storage systems and Multipoint Premium Server, mostly for remote desktops in education. Standard Edition and Datacenter by default installed without GUI (the Server Core option).

In summary:

It can note that Windows Server 2016 provides many opportunities for full deployment and operations of its infrastructure in the cloud. New OS makes it easy to access and identify the services and applications of the organization if they placed and in the cloud, and on physical servers. Microsoft Server platform has developed by industry trends and business preferences. Much work done, the system is moving in the right direction. Check the functioning of Windows Server can be 2016, taking the virtual VPS server on the free trial period three days.