Windows Server 2016 Brings Enhanced Security, Nano Support for the Cloud and Docker Containers Baked Right In!

As modern civilization continues to advance, fuelled in many ways by innovations in digital technology, all types of businesses and government organizations are becoming increasingly dependant on the IT infrastructure powered by Windows Servers.

At FrameFlow, we know how important it is to monitor your servers to ensure they are running optimally and your network is humming along at a good clip so that you get the greatest ROI from your IT investments. Microsoft understands this need as well. Their latest server OS, Windows Server 2016, is jam packed with cutting edge features including streamlined deployment capabilities for the cloud using Nano Server, enhanced security features to protect your network from the rise in cyber attacks, and new isolation options for developers through the use of trusted Docker Containers.

Microsoft Announces the Full Release of Windows Server 2016 at Ignite

Last month, during its Ignite Conference in Atlanta, and after nearly two years since the first technical preview was released, on Oct. 1st 2014 (which is pretty fair window for evaluation), Microsoft announced that the full commercial version of Windows Server 2016 would be generally available this October. System Center 2016, Microsoft’s service for managing data centers and associated hardware and virtual machines (including Windows Servers machines, Linux boxes or machines running VMWare or Hyper-V) will also be released at the same time.

Marquee Features of Windows Server 2016: Nano Server and Versatile Container Support

The IT community has been hearing about the many improvements to the latest release of Microsoft’s server operating system for several months, including a couple features that really stand out:

There are plenty of new features in Windows Server 2016, including improved security and networking tools, as well as better support for clustering. There are two marquee features in this release though: the addition of the Nano Server option, a stripped-down version of the OS for use in the cloud, as well as built-in support for containers… Microsoft already announced that it would use the Docker Engine for handling containers on Windows Server 2016. -Tech Crunch

Security Top of Mind for Windows Server 2016

With cyber security threats increasingly on the minds of IT executives and sys admins, Windows Server 2016 seeks to make the server an active component in corporate security defences, which include items like new anti-malware capabilities in Window’s Defender, safeguarding user credentials with Credential Guard and Remote Credential Guard and additional protective measures for the operating system with Code Integrity:

These security protections were built with the mindset of how we deal with the overall threat of ongoing attacks inside the datacenter environment and range from threat resistance and enhanced detection to managing privileged identity and protecting virtual machines from a compromised fabric. -Microsoft Windows Server Team

Embrace the Cloud with Smaller Footprints using Nano Server

Microsoft is keenly aware that the era of cloud computing is upon us. As such, they have incorporated the “just enough OS model” into Windows Server 2016, in the form of Nano Server, with its super fast boot time, simplicity and reduction of support roles to a minimum.

Nano Server is an extremely thinned down version of Windows Server 2016, requiring far less resources and patching, restarts much faster than the full version, and can perform a variety of specific tasks with minimal hardware. Nano must be managed remotely and can only run 64 bit applications:

Nano Server is a new headless deployment option for Windows Server, running at a fraction of the size of the full operating system. -Microsoft Azure

Flexible Support for Containers Using Docker Platform

Microsoft is getting behind developers who’ve been experimenting with the use of containers to streamline the development process and increase efficiencies. Two distinct types of Docker Driven Containers will be offered in Windows Server 2016.

Instances of Windows Server Containers share a kernel with the host and any other instances on that host. Isolation is achieved through namespace, resource control and process isolation technologies. This options is fine for development hosts and test environments.

For those developers working in sensitive areas with regulatory and compliance requirements, especially in regards to isolation, Windows Server 2016 offers Hyper-V Containers. These containers can also run concurrently on a host, but each instance runs on a virtual machine optimized for the application and with it’s own kernel, providing kernel-level-isolation between the container and its host.

In addition to the flexibility provided by these two container options, developers and IT executives have the added assurance that these container capabilities are baked right into Windows Server 2016 and powered by the trusted Docker Engine:

Docker and Microsoft have partnered to bring the agility, portability, and security benefits of the Docker platform to every edition of Windows Server 2016 in October 2016 [no additional charge]. Windows Server 2016 Containers, powered by Docker Engine, brings containers to native Windows applications and expands the toolset for traditional Docker Linux developers and IT pros. -Docker Inc.

Staying on Top of IT Changes Relating to How Servers are Managed and Monitored

As part of FrameFlow’s continued commitment to staying on top of significant changes in the IT industry that affect how servers are managed and monitored, we’re looking forward to gauging how Windows Server 2016 will fare in the wider IT community in the months following this general release. We’d be happy to hear any feedback you may have on your experience with Windows 2016, through our social networks.

Equally, if you’d like to give FrameFlow Server Monitor, Multi-Site Monitor or SNMP Browser a test spin for 30 days (with no obligation or credit card required), simply download your free trial to get started!