Getting Ready For Windows Server 2016

This time last year we were part way through a 22 city roadshow which took me to some places I’d never been before, and quite a few places I hadn’t been in quite a while. One of the important things I was asking while living away from home was what topics were important looking forward, and an overwhelming one that was raised in all locations was making sure the OEM team were getting you important information on Windows Server 2016 before it was released, as opposed to only doing a roadshow after its release. This kicks off the first of many posts that will start introducing some of the new features, and the new scenarios that these enable. The initial focus of these posts will be on technologies that enhance or extend the virtualisation capabilities, and over time I’ll bring in more technologies that highlight the enhancements to hybrid cloud scenarios. Of course Hyper-V will receive a large number of enhancements, but some of the important ones for those of you working in the SMB space are highlighted below, and over time I’ll get up new posts that cover these and others in much more detail.

Storage Spaces Direct is definitely one of the big ones, but before I mention what it does, it’s best to highlight the entry point for this technology, which is an organisation with a requirement for four Hyper-V hosts. Storage Spaces Direct allows much more flexibility with accessing local storage resources within the Hyper-V host, including leveraging high performance PCI-E SSD storage, along with your traditional SAS and SATA disks, potentially removing the need for dedicated shared storage with targeted use cases. To start to get an understanding of what these new scenarios are and how the technology works, take a look at Storage Spaces Direct in Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview.

Next up on my list of top new features is nested virtualisation. There are many benefits to nested virtualisation, but the ability to virtualize you Hyper-V virtual infrastructure to allow you to more easily move it from one server to another, or even from one datacenter to another, presents many opportunities. From a learning and training perspective it also means you can set up independent Hyper-V environments on the same physical server, knowing that what one user is doing in their sandbox won’t be able to affect another user. This also means that you can get into something of an Inception like experience, where you have Hyper-V running several layers deep, which may not be useful in all day to day scenarios, but definitely comes in handy when needed. I’ve been using Windows 10’s nested virtualisation for a while now, and if you want to see how to get that running, take a look at Nested Virtualization.

I’ll leave the post here for now, but other things that I’ll also cover in upcoming posts are the enhancements to existing features, including what’s new and improved with managing Hyper-V servers through Hyper-V Manager as well as through PowerShell.

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