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Windows Server 2016: Overview & Features

Instructor: Brandon Bass

Brandon has a MS in systems engineering & a PhD in Cyber Security. He has taught at several universities and possesses 12 industry certifications.

Windows 2016 is one of the newest iterations of the Windows software family. It is a robust server operating system that provides a variety of features. This lesson will discuss the high-level overview of Windows 2016 and features you can expect to see when utilizing this operating system.

History of Windows Server

Windows server versions have come and gone since September 1994 with the introduction of Windows NT 3.5 server. Server operating systems differ from desktop operating systems in that they handle client/server applications like email communications and a host of other applications that wouldn't typically be found on a personal computer. Since Windows NT 3.5, there have been many different iterations of Windows server products that since developed into the current product Windows server 2016, which is based on a Windows 10 desktop core. Recent versions of Windows server that have since entered end-of-life are the Server 2008 and 2012 editions of Windows.

How Windows 2016 is different

Windows 2016 has a vast array of new and enhanced features and capabilities over the previous iterations of Windows server products. Windows 2016 comes with new containerization, or light-weight virtualization, capabilities out of the box. The virtualization platform is perhaps the most enhanced feature of Windows 2016. It contains two licenses for Hyper-V, Microsoft's hypervisor program, and support for unlimited hosted containers running a lightweight version of Windows Server 2016 called Nano Server. This allows for virtual servers and virtual machines to be built within the host server installation, to operate both Windows and non-Windows-based software and services. Furthermore, Windows server 2016 is an enterprise data center platform that will allow for robust recovery and network load-balancing as well as deployment and scaling of applications and websites in a rapid manner.

Other features include UEFI based virtual machine deployment processes. Faster VM deployment, including automated virtual machine deployment, decreases the time that it takes to set up these machines. Group policy implements a policy cache setting which allows machines that have joined the active directory domain to store a copy of the group policy settings on the local client machine. This way these local settings can be used by the client machines on startup and not require them to be requested over the network from the active directory controller. This reduces network traffic congestion.

Windows 2016 also utilizes a newer version of Windows defender in both server core and desktop experience installations which is installed and enabled by default. It also allows for Windows deployment services and commands through WDS with PowerShell.

Editions of Windows 2016

Windows 2016 comes in three Editions for use by consumers.

  • Essentials
  • Standard
  • Datacenter

These versions all have specific applications that they are more geared towards. Unlike in previous versions of Windows Server, Windows 2016 has no Foundations edition. The cost for_Essentials_ and _Standard_ are similar, but the feature set are quite different in that Standard allows for virtualization and Essential does not. Additionally, some editions force tighter usage restrictions, such as the maximum number of users, connections, or software/hardware performance, in order to provide market segmentation. _Datacenter_ remains the most costly version of the operating system, but has access to all features and little to no software usage restrictions.

How these differ and how they actually function.

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