Microsoft Talks Up Windows Server 2016 Performance Gains

Microsoft is stumping for Windows Server 2016 ahead of its debut next month at the Ignite conference. This week, the company touted the new server's technical performance specs compared to the current crop of Windows Server offerings.

On Thursday, Microsoft published some Windows Server 2016 technical performance information, showing a six-fold boost in physical host memory support over the current Windows Server products. It will increase virtual machine memory support by 16 times, as well, according to this table from Microsoft:

[Click on image for larger view.] Some Windows Server 2016 specs versus Microsoft's current server products. (Source: Microsoft blog post.)

Jeff Woolsey, a principal program manager for Windows Server at Microsoft, indicated in the blog post that these performance boosts are a way to "push Hyper-V scalability." The new server is designed to support "new scenarios around data analytics and machine learning, which means really huge databases," he added.

Woolsey also highlighted three Windows Server 2016 features. He listed Shielded Virtual Machines, a security measure that will prevent the copying of virtual machine files, which can later be hacked. Woolsey described Shielded Virtual Machines as a "fundamental" protection for Hyper-V, VMware or other hypervisors.

Next, Storage Spaces Direct is a software-defined storage solution for high-availability scenarios. It will let organizations pool storage from local disks, including "new classes of disk devices, such as SATA and NVMe disk devices," Woolsey explained. It's described as an "evolution" of Microsoft's Storages Spaces pooling scheme. It can be used for primary or secondary storage, as well as for the backup and archiving of virtual machine files.

Lastly, Woolsey touted container support. Windows Server 2016 supports Windows Containers and Hyper-V Containers. Both are operating system virtualization approaches typically used for running multiple applications on a system without conflict. The Windows Server Containers approach isolates applications using namespaces, while Hyper-V Containers provide isolation via a lightweight virtual machine.

The new server's features to date haven't exactly been hidden as they've been available for review in Microsoft's technical preview releases. Windows Server 2016 is currently "feature complete" at Technical Preview 5, and readers can find a good overview of what to expect in this June Redmond article.

Windows Server 2016 is expected to hit general availability next month, and it'll be on Microsoft's price list for sale in October. The server will be offered in Datacenter, Standard and Essentials editions, with the top-of-the-line Datacenter edition supporting "unlimited" virtualization use rights. Microsoft is also switching the licensing to a per-physical-core model vs. the earlier per-processor approach.

About the Author

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

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