Windows Server 2016 was released in September and brings fabulous functionality improvements. Some of the new features are built to bypass burning issues for sysadmins, in dealing with infrastructure, security and even disaster recovery. This is why we’ve made a list of the most fun features that will impact the work of system administrators.
Windows Server 2016 promises faster installs, less downtime while patching, but also better security and identity management. Sysadmins also get improved control over tasks delegation with PowerShell, and other features will make disaster recovery easier. You can see the entire list of improvements on the Microsoft website.
Reduced Footprint with Nano Server Install
If you don’t like patching and downtime, you should try Nano Server. This is a new installation option for Windows Server 2016. It takes up far less disk space, sets up significantly faster, and requires far fewer updates and restarts.
Nano Server is basically a lightweight version for operating “cloud-native” applications based on containers. It’s only available for 64 bit applications and will need remote management.
Moreover, the Cluster Operating System Rolling Upgrade feature means that you can upgrade the operating system of cluster nodes from Windows Server 2012 R2 to Windows Server 2016 without ending Hyper-V or Scale-Out File Server workloads. Less hassle, less downtime!
Improved and Secure Identity Management
Windows Server 2016 brings improved security of Active Directory environments and identity management. Admins can easily restrict privileged access within Active Directory, and privileged accounts can be isolated for security. You can configure roles using Just-in-Time Administration. This is a huge help to make sure systems are running smoothly without security risks.
Easier Management with Windows PowerShell
Windows Server 2016 also introduces “Just Enough Administration” security technology. With this, sysadmins will be able to manage permissions and delegate any PowerShell task. Admins will be able to run under network identity, connect over PowerShell Direct or copy files to or from specific endpoints.
Credential, Device Guard and Shielded Virtual Machines
The Windows Server 2016 updates also come with a trove of security updates. The new Windows Server comes with Credential Guard and Remote Credential Guard to protect admins credentials, but also with a Device Guard. You can use the Device Guard to decide what code can run on the servers. It also provides code integrity in kernel mode and user mode.
Shielded Virtual Machines are another amazing feat for Windows Server 2016. This will protect any guest machines on a virtual network, if the host been compromised in a cyberattack.
Software-defined Storage for High Availability
Microsoft introduced a host of new features that will make it easier to scale out, lower costs for small businesses, and enable easy disaster recovery for businesses. The three new features are Storage Spaces Direct, Storage Replica and Storage Quality of Service.
StorageSpaces Direct is a particularly interesting development, as it will allow high availability storage with local storage. These systems will rely on less expensive machines than the standard SAN infrastructure, and thus businesses will be able to scale out easier and at less cost.
Storage Replica will allow synchronous replication between servers or clusters for disaster recovery, while Storage Quality of Service will enable admins to monitor end-to-end storage performance and create policies using Hyper-V and CSV clusters.
Windows Server 2016, Migration Woes
Windows Server 2016 has introduced features that promise to make life easier for sysadmins looking out for small business infrastructure, so it will be interesting to see how they improve on IT strategy. Migrations are not always something sysadmins look forward to, as they imply downtime or errors – but Windows Server 2016 is certainly worth the trouble.
As always, data protection is the first step to a successful migration. Be sure to keep your data safe with an enterprise-grade backup and disaster recovery solution.