Microsoft has now made its Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016 generally available. The operating system and the software suite cater to hybrid cloud datacentres. Both offerings intend to bring "cloud-born technologies to the traditional datacentre" so IT administrators can make the most of existing resources. Here's what you need to know about the features and pricing for the two offerings.
The technical preview for the Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016 was launched in November last year and Microsoft released evaluation version last month at its developer conference Ignite in the US.
From today, customers are able to access the Windows Server 2016 operating system and the complementary System Center 2016 software suite through the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) or the company's Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC). For the Windows 2016 evaluation version, which lets you try the operating system for 180 days, you can get it here.
The operating system has built-in security features including Shielded Virtual Machines to protect VMs from being compromised through BitLocker encryption. There's also Credential Guard to protect IT administrators against pass-the-hash attacks. There are threat detection tools as well.
As for System Center 2016, it has a bunch of tools to help make deploying, configuring, managing and monitoring virtualised, software-defined datacentres and hybrid cloud infrastructure built on Windows Server 2016 easier.
Windows Server 2016 is portable across datacentre, private and public cloud environments through virtual machine and containers. It is also portable to Microsoft Azure with the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit, which moves existing Windows Server licenses to the company's public cloud platform at a discounted rate.
As it was announced earlier this year, some Windows Server 2016 will be licenced based on cores:
|Windows Server 2016 Datacenter||For highly virtualised datacentre and cloud environments||Core based|
|Windows Server 2016 Standard||For physical or minimally virtualised environments||Core based|
|Windows Server 2016 Essentials||For small businesses with up to 25 users and 50 devices||Processor based|
|Windows Server 2016 MultiPoint Premium Server||For Volume Licensing customers in Academic segments only||Processor based|
|Windows Storage Server 2016||Standard and Workgroup editions available in the OEM channel only||Processor based|
|Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2016||Free hypervisor download||N/A|
You'll need Software Assurance, which is under Microsoft's volume licencing program, if you want to deploy Nano Server mode.