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IT Pros Give Early Views on Windows Server 2016

IT pros mostly are interested in the coming Hyper-V features of Windows Server 2016, a survey published today revealed.

Windows Server 2016 is still at the preview stage, and any survey about it likely may be a bit early. Nevertheless, Spiceworks, an app maker with a community tech site, polled about 300 IT pros regarding the emerging server and their plans for it. The results are compiled in this Spiceworks blog post.

The survey found that participants were mostly interested in the new Hyper-V capabilities of Windows Server 2016, which topped the list at 31 percent. Other capabilities of interest included PowerShell 5.0 functionality (20 percent), enhanced security (19 percent) and software-defined storage (18 percent).

Items that Microsoft has been highlighting in Windows Server 2016, such as Nano Server and Windows Server Containers with Docker support, scored lower among the respondents at 12 percent each.

Server integration with Microsoft Azure cloud services got a lowly 7 percent response in the poll results. However, that capability has been a major Microsoft marketing push.

IT pro deployment plans for Windows Server 2016 in the poll results weren't surprising. Just 4 percent planned to deploy it as soon as it was available. Most (27 percent) planned deployments one to two years after product release.

Server migration isn't so easy to do, and the survey results seemed to reflect that fact. Spiceworks found that 59 percent of the respondents still had Windows Server 2003 installations running, even though Microsoft stopped supporting that server product back in July. Getting off Windows Server 2003 was considered to be a top objective for 32 percent of the respondents in terms of their 2016 budgetary priorities.

The most used Windows Server implementation was Windows Server 2008 at 80 percent. The poll found 9 percent who said they still had Windows Server 2000 running.

So far, Microsoft hasn't announced a release date for Windows Server 2016. One expert predicted general availability in April 2016, although that's speculation. The last preview release of the server was Technical Preview 4, which was released on Nov. 19. This preview is notable for bringing new Nano Server and "software-defined datacenter" capabilities, along with the first public preview of Hyper-V Containers, according to Microsoft's announcement.

Windows Server 2016 will have both Windows Server Containers and Hyper-V Containers, which are operating system virtualization approaches. Hyper-V Containers will add more isolation for security purposes, per Microsoft's announcement. Hyper-V Containers also will have so-called "nested virtualization," which Microsoft is touting for dev-and-test types of scenarios.

Nano Server in Technical Preview 4 now supports Desired State Configuration, which is Microsoft's PowerShell-based push-pull method for keeping server configurations in an optimal state. In addition, Microsoft added to the limited roles that Nano Server can host. It now can have a domain name server (DNS) role or a Web Server (IIS) role. Previously, with Technical Preview 2, Nano Server had just three possible roles: host OS for cloud computing operations, platform for cloud-based apps and scale-out file server.

The low interest in Nano Server, as expressed in the Spiceworks poll, might be associated with its deployment and testing complexities. It's a headless server managed by remote PowerShell commands. On the upside, Nano Server promises less maintenance and better security with a minimal footprint. Nano Server is estimated by Microsoft to be about 20 times smaller than the current Server Core minimal footprint configuration. Still, IT pros don't seem wowed, at least at this point.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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