3 Biggest Changes in Windows Server 2016

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Guest Author: Norm Kennedy, Technical Instructor

Windows Server 2016 was first released on September 26th at Microsoft’s Ignite conference, and it’s first major update was released this October. While it seemed on the surface like just another iteration, Windows Server 2016 represented a major shift in the design of Microsoft’s operating systems. 

The list of new features is steep, but I believe that the most substantial changes for Windows Server 2016 are as follows: storage spaces, virtualization, and containers. Let’s take a look now at how these changes can benefit users and businesses alike. 


Containers can be thought of as the next step in the virtualization path. In the early days of servers, whenever you wanted to isolate an application, you would have to build another physical server and then that application could run on that server. Now, each virtual machine has its own operating system, its own kernel, and memory that its going to be using. This allows us to isolate those applications on different virtual machines on the same server.

The next generation of virtualization is Containers. Why is this so great? Because these applications will be able to share a single operating system in a single kernel while each of them think they’re the only ones using it. This new feature allows you pack your containers more densely on a server so that you can run more applications on the sane hardware.

Containers have been around for a while but with 2016 it’s the first time you can run them in Windows. Before this, it was a Linux-only solution, but now it’s a new option for Windows Server users.

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There is an open source community that produces something called Docker. Docker is the primary container platform and management interface. Microsoft has now invested in that and is working along with Docker to integrate it more into Windows products. Having Docker in Windows is something that never existed before.

Some Closing Thoughts

These three improvements I’ve discussed are going to be a game changer for admins and IT professionals who use Server on a day-to-day basis. As for end users, these changes will help improve storage, productivity, and security. The newest update to Server will be out soon with the possibility of more updates to features. For now, the biggest changes to expect are not going to be a hassle but more of a help in adding to your server’s capabilities.

Norm Kennedy is a technical instructor at New Horizons. He began his career working with Novell Servers, and has installed, configured, and maintained Windows Server systems since 2000. In 2012, he was recognized as one of New Horizons Top 25 Worldwide Instructors, and in 2015, he won the Technical Instructor of the year award for NHLS. Currently, Norm specializes in Cloud Computing on the Microsoft Azure Platform from an IT infrastructure perspective, as well as Deployment and Administration of Office 365. Norm’s instruction integrates blended modalities—from the traditional classroom to Online LIVE virtual learning and On-sites—and incorporates real-world examples.

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