Windows Server 2016 gives users complete infrastructure control, whether on premises or in the cloud. The latest technology delivers customizability and agility. This release debuts Microsoft’s move from processor-based licensing to core-based licensing, which simplifies multicloud environments management.
The operating system’s Microsoft Operations Management Suite allows you to run and monitor workloads across systems from a single source. Need to deploy quickly? The new Nano Server feature shortens installation time and requires fewer updates for consistent uptime.
Windows Server 2016 is available in three editions — Standard, Datacenter and Essentials — so you can get the one that best meets your business needs.
Windows Server 2016 system requirements
- Intel x86 1.4 GHz 64-bit processor
- 512MB RAM
- 32GB storage
- PCI Express-compliant adapter
Frequently asked questions — features
Q: What new features come with Windows Server 2016?
A: Windows Server 2016 offers these new features in the Standard Edition:
- Nano Server, which lets you manage the server remotely
- Unlimited Windows Server containers
- 2 operating system environments or Windows Server containers with Hyper-V isolation
In addition, the Datacenter Edition includes:
- Shielded Virtual Machines, to keep both hosted and cloud-based virtual machines protected
- Software-defined networking
- Storage Spaces Direct, which enables the building of highly available storage systems with local storage
- Storage Replica, for replicating volumes between servers or clusters for streamlined disaster recovery
- Unlimited operating system environments or Windows Server containers with Hyper-V isolation
Q: How many operating system environments does Windows Servers 2016 host?
A: With the Datacenter Edition, you can have unlimited environments through Windows Server containers with Hyper-V isolation. The Standard Edition allows up to two operating system environments. The Essentials Edition allows a single physical or virtual environment.
Frequently asked questions — licensing
Q: What is core-based licensing?
A: Core-based licensing simplifies managing multicloud environments and provides an accurate measurement of actual computing power. All cores in the server are required to be licensed, in addition to Client Access Licenses (CALs). Additionally, core-based licensing enhances the flexibility of workload portability by adding virtual machines through Azure Hybrid Benefit.
Q: What is a Client Access License (CAL)?
A: A Client Access License is essentially a permit for accessing the services of Windows Server 2016. It is required in addition to core licenses. Microsoft provides CALs for both devices and users.
Q: What is Azure Hybrid Benefit?
A: This benefit gives Software Assurance users affordable pricing for adding Azure virtual machines to Windows Server 2016. You only pay the base compute rate.
Frequently asked questions — editions
Q: What are the differences between Windows Server 2016 editions?
A: The Standard Edition is geared toward users with non-virtualized or low-density environments and allows for two operating system environments. The Datacenter Edition is designed for highly virtualized and software-defined data centers. It offers unlimited operating system environments, additional storage features, Shielded Virtual Machines and a networking stack. The Essentials Edition is ideal for smaller businesses. It features a first server, cloud-connected, and works with up to 50 devices.
Q: Is there an upgrade path from Windows Server 2012 to 2016?
A: Servers running Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 R2 can seamlessly upgrade to Windows Server 2016.
Q: When will Windows Server 2012 support end?
A: Microsoft has slated Oct. 10, 2023, as the sunset date for Windows Server 2012 support. Similarly, Microsoft will provide five years of mainstream support for Windows Server 2016. After the next version is released, an additional five years of extended support will likely be available.