Now that Microsoft Windows server 2016 is generally available as of October 12, 2016, everyone is ready to upgrade their servers right? With every new Operating system release there is obviously going to be a list of new features and improvements. However, are these worth it to be bleeding edge and upgrade before the next service pack? Let’s take a quick look.

 

New and Improved

What’s new and probably a hot item is the support of containers. No, not your mom’s Tupperware but containers like Docker. With support for Docker Microsoft is playing nice with Open source which it would normally considers its competitor. This will help the big giant if they want to be a key player in the public cloud space and compete with the Amazon and Google. If you want to know how to get started with Docker on Windows Server 2016 check out Melissa Palmer’s post http://24x7itconnection.com/2016/10/11/getting-started-docker-container-platform-windows-2016/ .

Nano Sever is another hot item. It’s the headless server that is slimmer, faster and better than the tradition windows server. Think of it like server core mode but a lot better. You can install Nano from the Datacenter or Standard edition of windows 2016. It’s ideal for running as a compute host Hyper-V virtual machines.

Windows Server 2016 also introduces Host Guardian and shield vms. This “shields’ virtual machines and protects the data on them from unauthorized access. You can even lock out your Hyper-V admin. There are also improvements for Active directory certificate services, Active directory domain services, Active directory federation services, and Web application proxy to name a few. 

 

Are you Bleeding edge?

The new features sound great don’t they? But are you really going to jump on it right away? One could say I’m not using Windows server for containers or a Hyper-V host so I should be ok. However, if you're on the bleeding edge and want to start updating your servers you should know that they are a few things that have removed from server 2016.

The share and storage management not been in the MMC is no longer available in Windows Server 2016. So if you're thinking about managing servers with an older OS through Windows Server 2016 you won't be able too. You will need to logon locally to that older server use the snap in locally from that server.

Another change is the security configuration wizard has also been removed. This has been replaced by turning on all features by default. If you to manage those features, you can only do it through policy or the Microsoft security compliance manager tool.

 

Since this has only been generally available for about a month all the bugs and gotchas are starting to come out. Last week it was announced that there issues with running Exchange 2016 Cu3 on Windows Server 2016. If you're thinking about running Exchange 2016 on the latest version well you shouldn’t. There are known issues with the IIS host process and Microsoft says there's no workaround at this time so save yourself a headache and stick with windows server 2012.

 

So my advice is test, test, test and test before you go into production if you are going to upgrade to Windows Server 2016. It’s still very new out and over the new few weeks I am sure we will hear more rumblings of gotchas.