What's new in Windows Server 2016

In the beginning of this year the rollout of Microsoft's Windows 10 platform will be completed after the public release of Windows Server 2016. According to Tomas Lepa, Technical Architect at Advania’s subsidiary Knowledge Factory, there are three key words. “Security, identity and mobility are what Microsoft are focusing on right now.”

Text: Daniel Åberg

We are fast approaching the final version of Windows Server 2016. Originally it was supposed to be released simultaneously with Windows 10, but the public beta test period were extended.

“That it has taken longer time implies a more stable version than we are used to will be released, which has kept many waiting to update until the first Service pack version is out. This system has been rolled out onto millions of PCs for over a year, and childhood illnesses have been washed off”, says Tomas Lepa from the Advania subsidiary Knowledge Factory, leader in the Swedish consultancy business regarding Microsoft IT infrastructure.

For those familiar with Windows 10 parts of what Windows Server 2016 focuses on is well-known. Simple, yet secure access to the corporate server is crucial.

“Azure Active Directory is a very important part, and a lot has happened here. Say you're a company that works in maybe 100 different places in the world, previously it has led to large costs to build networks with VPN tunnels and WAN solutions. We can now forget about all that, you will install Windows Server 2016 in one place, connect users worldwide and that's it. This means important benefits in how companies with distributed databases can work – if you only have one Internet connection and a server, you are protected”, says Tomas Lepa.

He is careful to point out that for certain kinds of businesses with a legacy of old systems, reflection will be required even in the future.

“Windows Server 2016 doesn’t erase the problems which for instant heavy engineering and hospitals struggle with because their technology is based on old systems. But even for them, there are huge improvements.”

The employees of Knowledge Factory are now completely cloud-based.

“Yes, we are "cloud only", we have laptops with built-in 4G that are connected through the cloud all the time. For companies who mostly works with simpler ERPs this is a flexible solution today.”

Much time has been spent on improving the functionality of existing rights. One example that Tomas Lepa mentions is Time-Based Groups, which provides the ability to time determine who is the administrator at different times of the day.

“For example, I could be domain admin only during my working hours, and someone else automatically takes over at 5 PM when I go home. Microsoft has really thought of this, it will be a big thing,” he says, and continues:

"Another improvement is Privileged Access Management, which makes it easier to control which parts of the system administrators can see. Today, it is common that IT departments have full access also to information in the payroll system and such, but now it will be easier to regulate."

When Windows 10 was launched earlier this year, much had happened regarding how Microsoft manages passwords and logins.

“But it is only now when functions like Windows Hello and Microsoft Passport enters the server version that it will be really useful for companies.”

Nano Server is big news with a small footprint.

“You install a minimized version of Windows Server, it does not take up more than 400-500 MB of space. It doesn’t get its own interface but is operated by Windows PowerShell or System Center. Nano servers can act, for example as hosts for virtual machines,” says Tomas Lepa.

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Tobias Öien

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