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Microsoft Gives Windows Server 2016 Hyperconverged Computing Boost

Organizations can now use Windows Admin Center (previously code-named "Project Honolulu") with Windows Server 2016 to manage hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), Microsoft recently announced.

HCI describes scenarios in which compute and storage functions get combined in a cluster. The HCI feature is still at the preview stage, while the browser-based Windows Admin Center reached general availability earlier this month, so the management portal is deemed ready for production use.

There are a couple of requirements to use the new HCI capability. The hyperconverged scenario depends on using Storage Spaces Direct, a software-defined, shared nothing storage technology in Windows Server 2016 that lets organizations use cheaper storage devices. Microsoft claims that "over 10,000 clusters worldwide" are running Storage Spaces Direct. The HCI scenario also requires using the Datacenter edition of Windows Server 2016.

Management of HCI with Windows Server 2016 can only happen when the April 17 cumulative update KB4093120 is installed "on every server in your Storage Spaces Direct cluster," Microsoft's announcement explained. The update adds new APIs that are needed to support the HCI capability.

Before this April update, it was only possible to test HCI using Windows Server preview releases that come through the Windows Insider Program, but now organizations can use Windows Server 2016 to test it. There are just a couple of differences from the Windows Insider Program preview. First, the Windows Admin Center doesn't display dedupe and compression information. Second, the performance history is missing from the management portal, according to a Microsoft video.

Microsoft recently published a bunch of Windows Admin Center videos for those getting used to it. Microsoft has described Windows Admin Center as its next evolution of the Server Manager and Microsoft Management Console in-box management tools.

About the Author

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