In case you have not heard, Microsoft is celebrating the 20th birthday (or anniversary) of Windows Server.
Some of you may remember from 20 years ago Windows Server with a different name aka Windows NT Server. Back in the day, if you recall (or read), server requirements were more in the 33 MHz vs. 3.3GHz range, 32MB of RAM Memory vs. 32GB to 320GB, 150MB HDD vs. 150GB SSD or 1.5TB HDD.
Keep in mind that 20 years ago Linux was a relative new thing with Red Hat not yet quite household or more specific enterprise name. The various Unix (e.g. IBM AIX, HP HP-UX, Sun Solaris, DEC Unix and Ultrix among many others) were still dominate, OS2 had peaked or close to, among others. Virtual Machines were Logical Partitions (LPAR) on Mainframes along with virtual PCs software and hardware assist boards.
IMHO there is no coincidence of Microsoft celebrating 20 years of WIndows Server going into the fall of 2016 and the upcoming release of Server 2016.
What's New in Server 2016 (TP5)?
If you have not done so, check out the latest Tech Preview 5 (TP5) of Windows Server 2016 (get the bits e.g. software here to try) which includes Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) that leverages internal PCIe and drive format SSD (NVMe, SAS, SATA) along with HDDs (SAS, SATA) for creating local and scale-out converged (desegregated) and hyper-converged (aggregated) solutions. In addition to S2D there is Storage Replica (SR) which is replication of local storage part of S2D (not to be confused with DFS or other replication).
Other enhancements include ReFS as the default file system instead of NTFS (don't worry, NTFS like FAT does not go away yet). There are enhancements to Hyper-V including VM shielding, hot-plug virtual network adapters, enhanced Linux support and fail over priorities among others. Other enhancements include updates for AD including improved integration with on-premise as well as Azure AD for hybrid environments, PowerShell updates, Docker management including Linux (via Hyper-V) and Windows via Nano) container engines.
Speaking of Nano, if you had not heard, this is a new very light weight Windows Kernel that removes 32 bit WOW and GUI support. The result is that Nano is a very small physical (under 1GB image instance size) using less disk, less memory and less CPU to do a given amount of work, oh, and boots super fast, even without SSD. By not having all the 32 bit and GUI overhead, the intent with Nano is there should be fewer updates and maintenance tasks to do, while enabling Windows containers for SQL Server and other applications.
In addition to PowerShell, AD and other management enhancements, Windows Server 2016 (TP5) also enables bridging two worlds e.g. traditional on-premise (or cloud) based Windows Server and Public Cloud (e.g. Azure) and Private or Hybrid including Azure Stack. Note that if you have not heard of Azure Stack and are looking at cloud stacks such as OpenStack, do your due diligence and at least familiarize yourself with Azure Stack.
Where To Learn More
- Check out the Microsoft 20 years of Windows Server site here
- Learn about the upcoming next version of Windows Server 2016 here
- Get the Windows Server 2016 Tech Preview 5 (TP5) bits here
- Cloud Storage Decision Making (looking at Microsoft Azure)
- Cloud Storage Considerations (looking at Microsoft Azure)
- Learn more about HDDs here, NVM and SSDs at www.thenvmeplace.com and www.thessdplace.com
- Server Storage I/O performance and related tools page
What This All Means
Congratulations Microsoft and Windows Server on 20th birthday (anniversary) you have come a long way.
With the new features and functionality in Windows Server 2016, looks like there is still a good future for the software defined server.
Ok, nuff said, for now...