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What is new in Windows Server-2016

Windows Server 2016 is now available for use, Windows administrators should be excited for a ton of new features coming from Microsoft in the server space, Its release mirrors contemporary information technology trends of containerization and hybrid connectivity with cloud services. Docker-driven containers and Nano Server to software-defined storage and networking improvements, Windows Server 2016 is packed with great new features.

  •          Nano Server
  •          Container support
  •          Hyper-V
  •          Storage
  •          Failover Cluster

Nano Server
Nano Server boasts a 90 percent smaller installation footprint than the Windows Server graphical user interface (GUI) installation option. Beyond just that, these compelling reasons may make you start running Nano for at least some of your Windows Server workloads:Bare-metal OS means far fewer updates and reboots are necessary. Because you have to administratively inject any server roles from outside Nano, the server has a much-reduced attack surface when compared to GUI Windows Server. Nano is so small that it can be ported easily across servers, data centers and physical sites.Nano hosts the most common Windows Server workloads, including Hyper-V host.

Nano is intended to be managed completely remotely. However, Nano does include a minimal local management UI called "Nano Server Recovery Console," shown in the previous screenshot, that allows you to perform initial configuration tasks.

Container support

Containers are the next evolution in virtualization; a container is an isolated place where an application can run without affecting the rest of the system and without the system affecting the application.
Microsoft is working closely with the Docker development team to bring Docker-based containers to Windows Server. Until now, containers have existed almost entirely in the Linux/UNIX open-source world. They allow you to isolate applications and services in an agile, easy-to-administer way. Windows Server 2016 offers two different types of "containerized" Windows Server instances:

Windows Server Container. This container type is intended for low-trust workloads where you don't mind that container instances running on the same server may share some common resources.  Provide application isolation through process and namespace isolation technology. A Windows Server container shares a kernel with the container host and all containers running on the host.

Hyper-V Container. This isn't a Hyper-V host or VM. Instead, its a "super isolated" containerized Windows Server instance that is completely isolated from other containers and potentially from the host server. Hyper-V containers are appropriate for high-trust workloads. Expand on the isolation provided by Windows Server Containers by running each container in a highly optimized virtual machine. In this configuration the kernel of the container host is not shared with the Hyper-V Containers.

Description: Credit: Microsoft


The recent release of Microsoft Windows Server 2016 new capabilities and features coming to the final release of the server OS,  among many new features, includes an improved version of its Hyper-V virtualization technology. the many new features in Windows Server 2016, many IT pros are looking to see new capabilities in Hyper-V

Linux Secure Boot Secure Boot is part of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) specification that protects a server's startup environment against the injection of rootkits or other assorted boot-time malware.The problem with Windows Server-based Secure Boot is that your server would blow up (figuratively speaking) if you tried to create a Linux-based Generation 2 Hyper-V VM because the Linux kernel drivers weren't part of the trusted device store. Technically, the VM's UEFI firmware presents a "Failed Secure Boot Verification" error and stops startup. Windows Server and Azure engineering teams seemingly love Linux. Therefore, we can now deploy Linux VMs under Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V with no trouble without having to disable the otherwise stellar Secure Boot feature. Ubuntu 14.04 and later, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 and later, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.0 and later, and Cent OS 7.0 and later are enabled for Secure Boot on hosts that run Windows Server 2016.

Compatible with Connected Standby Hyper-V role is installed on a computer that uses the Always On/Always Connected (AOAC) power model, the Connected Standby power state is now available

Discrete device assignment This feature lets you give a virtual machine direct and exclusive access to some PCIe hardware devices. Using a device in this way bypasses the Hyper-V virtualization stack, which results in faster access

Hot add and remove for network adapters and memory You can now add or remove a network adapter while the virtual machine is running, without incurring downtime. This works for generation 2 virtual machines that run either Windows or Linux operating systems Hyper-V Server has allowed us to add virtual hardware or adjust the allocated RAM to a virtual machine. However, those changes historically required that we first power down the VM. In Windows Server 2016, we can now "hot add" virtual hardware while VMs are online and running. I was able to add an additional virtual network interface card (NIC) to my running Hyper-V virtual machine.

Nested Virtualization This feature lets you use a virtual machine as a Hyper-V host and create virtual machines within that virtualized host. This can be especially useful for development and test environments. This has historically been a "no go" in Windows Server Hyper-V, but we finally have that ability in Windows Server 2016. Nested virtualization makes sense when a business wants to deploy additional Hyper-V hosts and needs to minimize hardware costs.


Storage Spaces Direct

Storage Spaces is a cool Windows Server feature that makes it more affordable for administrators to create redundant and flexible disk storage. Storage Spaces Direct in Windows Server 2016 extends Storage Spaces to allow failover cluster nodes to use their local storage inside this cluster, avoiding the previous necessity of a shared storage fabric.

Storage Spaces Direct uses industry-standard servers with local-attached drives to create highly available, highly scalable software-defined storage at a fraction of the cost of traditional SAN or NAS arrays. Its converged or hyper-converged architecture radically simplifies procurement and deployment, while features like caching, storage tiers, and erasure coding, together with the latest hardware innovation like RDMA networking and NVMe drives, deliver unrivaled efficiency and performance.

Storage Quality of Service (QoS)
You can now use storage quality of service (QoS) to centrally monitor end-to-end storage performance and create management policies using Hyper-V and CSV clusters in Windows Server 2016.

Failover Clustering
Windows Server 2016 includes a number of new features and enhancements for multiple servers that are grouped together into a single fault-tolerant cluster using the Failover Clustering feature.

Cloud Witness
Cloud Witness is a new type of Failover Cluster quorum witness in Windows Server 2016 that leverages Microsoft Azure as the arbitration point. The Cloud Witness, like any other quorum witness, gets a vote and can participate in the quorum calculations. You can configure cloud witness as a quorum witness using the Configure a Cluster Quorum Wizard.

Fault Domains
Enables you to define what fault domain to use with a Storage Spaces Direct cluster. A fault domain is a set of hardware that share a single point of failure, such as a server node, server chassis, or rack.

Workgroup and Multi-domain clusters
In Windows Server 2012 R2 and previous versions, a cluster can only be created between member nodes joined to the same domain. Windows Server 2016 breaks down these barriers and introduces the ability to create a Failover Cluster without Active Directory dependencies. You can now create failover clusters in the following configurations:

Single-domain Clusters. Clusters with all nodes joined to the same domain.
Multi-domain Clusters. Clusters with nodes which are members of different domains.
Workgroup Clusters. Clusters with nodes which are member servers / workgroup (not domain joined).

There are many more features has been introduced with new windows 2016 server other than I explained above.

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