The highly anticipated announcement of Microsoft Windows Server 2016 is now generally available and firmly re-establishes Microsoft’s commitment to the hybrid cloud for enterprises and a strong reality check.
Moving entirely to the cloud is a bold move that many enterprises aren’t quite comfortable with, due to regulatory or technical concerns. Security is key to adoption to the cloud, and a hybrid solution is clearly where the future lies.
Windows Server 2016 aims to make that transition easier. Microsoft’s Server, System Center, and Azure teams are working closer than ever before. Both Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016 (the data center management platform) are key to Microsoft hybrid cloud strategy. It’s the solution Microsoft envisaged for organizations that aren’t ready to place their applications workload on public clouds, like Azure.
The question now for enterprises is whether they’re ready to transition to Windows Server 2016 from older versions, like Windows Server 2008, that will eventually experience end-of-life status.
Small businesses may choose to forego the Essentials version for Office 365 on its own, instead of as a complement to Windows Server 2016, but they won’t have the same lever of local control.
Microsoft is still working on getting Windows 10 on 1 billion devices over the next 2 years, but it’s taking note of new trends and focusing on cloud, including with Office 365, Dynamics 365, and Azure services. There’s also a strong focus on cloud communications, of course, notably with VoIP with Skype for Business, for example.
Features and benefits
Windows Server 2016 offers new features that may entice enterprise to jump over, but the question of migrating your server operating system is a question that deserves considered analysis.
Organizations running Windows Server 2016 will have the option to run and secure applications on-premises or in the cloud, for a true hybrid solution.
Many will choose to work with partners to upgrade their server operating systems or to migrate, partially or fully, to the cloud with Windows Server 201
Some of the benefits of Windows Server 2016 include:
- Improved agility and flexibility, with several options such as the ‘lite’ Nano Server option
- Several editions for deployment
- Datacenter: for enterprises with unlimited virtualization and more features
- Standard: a general-purpose OS with simplified virtualization for organizations
- Essentials: for the SMB market
- Increased and consistent security and protection capabilities
- New storage options like Storage Spaces Direct
- Portability to Azure and discounted rates with Azure Hybrid Use Benefit
- Improvements to Hyper-V
- New container formats and virtual machines that can be deployed as needed
- Consistency of the interface experience for developers, IT professionals, and users