Windows Server 2016 is here. Get the cloud-ready operating system today to apply another level of security and innovation to the applications and infrastructure, that power your business. Support the workloads you run today, and make it easier to move to the cloud, when you’re ready. Product Features Built-in security – Enhance security and reduce risk with multiple layers of protection, built into the operating system. Evolve your datacenter – Save money and gain flexibility with software-defined compute storage, and networking technologies, inspired by Microsoft Azure. Innovate faster – Use improved technologies, such as Windows containers and Nano Server, for another way to deploy and run on-premises and cloud-based apps.
Windows Server 2016 has a variety of new features, including
- Active Directory Federation Services: It is possible to configure AD FS to authenticate users stored in non-AD directories, such as X.500 compliant Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) directories and SQL databases.
- Windows Defender: Windows Server Antimalware is installed and enabled by default without the GUI, which is an installable Windows feature.
- Remote Desktop Services: Support for OpenGL 4.4 and OpenCL 1.1, performance and stability improvements; MultiPoint Services role (see Windows MultiPoint Server)
- Storage Services: Central Storage QoS Policies; Storage Replicas (storage-agnostic, block-level, volume-based, synchronous and asynchronous replication using SMB3 between servers for disaster recovery). Storage Replica replicates blocks instead of files; files can be in use. It’s not multi-master, not one-to-many and not transitive. It periodically replicates snapshots, and the replication direction can be changed.
- Failover Clustering: Cluster operating system rolling upgrade, Storage Replicas
- Web Application Proxy: Preauthentication for HTTP Basic application publishing, wildcard domain publishing of applications, HTTP to HTTPS redirection, Propagation of client IP address to backend applications
- IIS 10: Support for HTTP/2
- Windows PowerShell 5.1
- Windows Server Containers
- DHCP: As Network Access Protection was deprecated in Windows Server 2012 R2, in Windows Server 2016 the DHCP role no longer supports NAP
- DNS client: Service binding – enhanced support for computers with more than one network interface
- DNS Server: DNS policies, new DDS record types (TLSA, SPF, and unknown records), new PowerShell cmdlets and parameters
- Windows Server Gateway now supports Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE) tunnels
- IP address management (IPAM): Support for /31, /32, and /128 subnets; the discovery of file-based, domain-joined DNS servers; new DNS functions; better integration of DNS, DHCP, and IP Address (DDI) Management
- Network Controller: A new server role to configure, manage, monitor, and troubleshoot virtual and physical network devices and services in the data centre
- Hyper-V Network virtualization: Programmable Hyper-V switch (a new building block of Microsoft’s software-defined networking solution); VXLAN encapsulation support; Microsoft Software Load Balancer interoperability; better IEEE Ethernet standard compliance.
- Rolling Hyper-V cluster update: Unlike upgrading clusters from Windows 2008 R2 to 2012 level, Windows Server 2016 cluster nodes can be added to a Hyper-V Cluster with nodes running Windows Server 2012 R2. The cluster continues to function at a Windows Server 2012 R2 feature level until all of the nodes in the cluster have been upgraded and the cluster functional level has been upgraded.
- Storage quality of service (QoS) to centrally monitor end-to-end storage performance and create policies using Hyper-V and Scale-Out File Servers
- New, more efficient binary virtual machine configuration format (.VMCX extension for virtual machine configuration data and the .VMRS extension for runtime state data)
- Production checkpoints
- Hyper-V Manager: Alternate credentials support, down-level management, WS-Management protocol
- Integration services for Windows guests distributed through Windows Update
- Hot-add and remove for network adapters (for generation 2 virtual machines) and memory (for generation 1 and generation 2 virtual machines)
- Linux secure boot
- Connected Standby compatibility
- Storage Resiliency feature of Hyper-V is formed for detecting transitory loss of connectivity to VM storage. VMs will be paused until connectivity is re-established.
- RDMA compatible Virtual Switch
Microsoft announced a new installation option, Nano Server, which offers a minimal-footprint headless version of Windows Server. It excludes the graphical user interface, WoW64 (support for 32-bit software) and Windows Installer. It does not support console login, either locally or via Remote Desktop Connection. All management is performed remotely via Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), Windows PowerShell and Remote Server Management Tools (a collection of web-based GUI and command-line tools). However, in Technical Preview 5, Microsoft has re-added the ability to administer Nano Server locally through PowerShell. According to Microsoft engineer Jeffrey Snover, Nano Server has 93% lower VHD size, 92% fewer critical security advisories, and 80% fewer reboots than Windows Server.
Starting with the new feature release of Windows Server version 1709, Nano Server can only be installed inside a container host.