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The top Windows Server tutorials and tips of 2016

A new operating system sparked Windows administrator's interest in 2016, as did information about using PowerShell to manage Windows Server and ways to deflect ransomware attacks.

Despite a multi-year development effort and numerous innovative features, Windows Server 2016 got second billing at the Microsoft Ignite conference in September 2016, as the company chose to trumpet the ways IT would benefit from a move to the Azure cloud platform. But don't count out Windows Server.

These most popular Windows Server tutorials and articles of 2016 from SearchWindowsServer show that administrators and engineers are more interested in down-to-earth topics than clouds. The Windows Server tutorials that garnered the most interest cover how to put together a Hyper-V home lab and the numerous ways to use PowerShell to tackle administrator tasks. Before 2017 hits you with big projects and unexpected issues, read up on the most important topics for Windows administrators.

10. PowerShell resources and sample scripts at your fingertips

PowerShell turned 10 years old in 2016, but a majority of Windows administrators prefer to click through the graphical user interface of a management application to complete tasks. No longer a command-line curiosity, PowerShell became an open source project, and expanded Microsoft's reach to the Linux platform. This tip explains how to find the latest improvements on the scripting framework along with coding examples to use in your test environment.

9. Active Directory improvements in Windows Server 2016

In the most recent release of Windows Server, Microsoft added a number of tweaks and new wrinkles to its venerable Active Directory service, to help administrators lock down access to IT resources and improve the end-user authentication experience.

8. Cut costs in a Hyper-V home lab with an open source router

Whether it's to add skills that could come in handy on the job or to burnish the resume with Microsoft certifications, administrators can build a home lab to expand their technical know-how. One way to reduce the budget of a dedicated lab is to use a software-defined router, such as the open source VyOS virtual router.

7. A cheaper way to go for Hyper-V management

Not every organization can afford the steep price for System Center and its Virtual Machine Manager to deploy and tend to Hyper-V virtual machines, particularly if there are relatively few nodes to manage. This tip highlights a number of free and low-cost options from Microsoft and third parties.

6. How to blunt an assault on your Windows systems

Hackers use ransomware to run rampant through Windows systems and encrypt any accessible files. These types of attacks can put a business out of operation until either the ransom is paid or IT can restore files from backups. Our experts say this type of assault is inevitable, but there are measures administrators can take to limit the damage.

5. Microsoft gets cloudy with Windows Server 2016

It's no secret Microsoft wants more organizations to get off the ground and put more workloads into its Azure cloud platform. While the new version of Windows Server comes with numerous features to ease on-premises infrastructure deployments, the introduction of Docker containers and integration of various Azure-based tools and services shows Microsoft wants IT to consider the adoption of its off-premises tools.

Windows Server 2016 features focus on evolving IT landscape

With numerous updates and innovations to storage, security and virtualization, Microsoft attempts to lock in its place in today's developer-friendly world.

4. Change to Windows Server license cost draws criticism

In 2016, Microsoft changed its Windows Server pricing from a per-CPU to a per-core model. Organizations with very powerful servers would pay more for Windows Server licensing with this switch. This news article polled analysts who recommended various ways enterprises could cope with the change to save money and reduce headaches.

3. With a new server operating system release, an upgrade is not inevitable

Microsoft announced general availability of Windows Server 2016 on Oct. 12, 2016. In the past, an upgrade to the next server operating system was a foregone conclusion for enterprises, but the rising popularity of hybrid cloud and growth of enterprise-grade Linux server distributions may give organizations pause before deciding to migrate to the new release. Our expert lays out the choices for companies that may be open to a world without Windows.

2. Get certified with help from a Hyper-V home lab

Systems administrators who want to get a promotion or find a new job can tackle the Microsoft certification path to strengthen their chances of advancement. Why not hone these technical skills with hands-on experience in a Hyper-V home lab? This tip explains the hardware requirements, network setup and other considerations to make the lab run without a hitch.

1. How to move up to the new PowerShell

Microsoft updated PowerShell to version 5.0 in February 2016. With this new release came new cmdlets and new features -- but also some caveats for administrators who have established critical workflows on earlier versions. This Windows Server tutorial details the requirements and steps to take to make the upgrade process as painless as possible.

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