Windows Server 2016 release broadens reach across IT spectrum

Last updated:March 2017

Editor's note

The Windows Server 2016 release brought container support and a minimal server deployment model, called Nano Server, to the enterprise. But those are just two features; the new OS also touches multiple areas of the data center, including networking, storage and the business side.

In addition to Docker container support and Nano Server, Windows Server 2016 also features software-defined functionality in the areas of networking and storage. The OS also provides tighter integration with the Azure cloud platform, which appeals to application developers who spin up tests, as well as administrators looking for remote management options.

We spoke with a number of experts across the IT spectrum to get their takes on some of the more innovative elements in Windows Server 2016 to examine how it meet the needs of modern IT environments, as well as what challenges moving to this platform can present. In this guide, you'll find first-person insights on how the advanced features of the new server OS can influence each area of the data center, as well as valuable resources to educate you for your journey to Windows Server 2016.

1Docker containers in Windows open new avenues

A shift in virtualization from hypervisors to containers and microservices architectures promises better use of data center hardware with less downtime. Are enterprises ready to take on this new method of application development?

2Advanced storage capabilities add protection, flexibility

With the introduction of Storage Spaces Direct, Microsoft has given businesses a way to use commodity hardware to build their own highly available, scalable storage pools. The Storage Replica feature in Windows Server 2016 is another way for small and medium-sized businesses to create a cost-effective disaster recovery option.

3Virtual networks no longer an abstract concept

For Microsoft shops that want to boost infrastructure security and more easily deploy applications, software-defined networking (SDN) is one option. Windows Server 2016 is equipped with several new SDN features, such as the Network Controller, that reduce the complexity of network tasks. This feature acts as the brain of the SDN stack, and helps administrators manage, deploy and troubleshoot both virtual and physical networks.

4New server OS intrigues CIOs

Despite the buzz for DevOps and containers, the reality is that a number of organizations still rely on mainframes and decades-old applications that run on legacy platforms. A CIO must ensure the current IT environment runs smoothly, while also exploring the benefits of moving to a new platform. The portability feature of containers in a hybrid cloud environment is pushing IT teams to give Windows Server 2016 a closer look.