Windows Server scalability and more!

This post was authored by Jeff Woolsey, Principal Program Manager, Windows Server.

We are about a month away from Microsoft Ignite 2016 in Atlanta and we are eager to see you and provide a first-class tour of Windows Server, System Center, OMS, Azure, along with so much more. For those of you who have been evaluating the Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview releases, a huge thank you. Your feedback has directly contributed to feature additions and refinements along the way to make sure we’re building the best server for you, whether it’s on-premises or in the cloud.

To start, let’s begin with an area we haven’t disclosed yet: scale. When it comes to development, there are a number of areas that are never “done.” These are areas where we’re always moving the bar to improve with hardware and to advance the state of the art. Security and performance are a couple of examples along with scale.

Back in Windows Server 2012, we raised the bar for Hyper-V, delivering industry-leading scalability across a number of scenarios. These numbers were so high, that when we delivered Windows Server 2012 R2 a year later, we didn’t even bother to push the scale numbers further because we had no requests!

Not this time. With Windows Server 2016, we had numerous requests to push Hyper-V scalability to new heights to embrace interesting new scenarios around data analytics and machine learning, which means really huge databases.

Now, you have it. With Windows Server 2016, we are delivering new industry-leading scalability to virtualize any and every workload without exception.

Windows Server 2012/2012 R2

Standard & Datacenter

Windows Server 2016 Standard & Datacenter

Physical (Host) Memory Support

Up to 4 TB per physical server

Up to 24 TB per physical server (6x)

Physical (Host) Logical Processor Support

Up to 320 LPs

Up to 512 LPs

Virtual Machine Memory Support

Up to 1 TB per VM

Up to 12 TB per VM (12x)

Virtual Machine Virtual Processor Support

Up to 64 VPs per VM

Up to 240 VPs per VM (3.75x)

For those of you who haven’t been able to keep up with all of the new scenarios and features we’re introducing, no worries! It just means we need to bring you up to speed, and now seems like a good time to do that. So, based on the feedback we’ve been hearing throughout the Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview, here are just a few of the top scenarios and features we’ve been asked about in Windows Server 2016. First off, it starts with security. As more and more customers talk to us about their hybrid cloud journey, every conversation has a security component. Folks want to know how the security landscape is changing and what additional layers of protection we are putting in place to help.

Shielded virtual machines

Virtualization security is a major investment area in Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V. In addition to protecting hosts or other virtual machines from a virtual machine running malicious software, we also need to protect virtual machines from a compromised host. Since a virtual machine is just a file, we need to protect it from attacks via the storage system, the network, or while it is backed up. This is a fundamental need for every virtualization platform today, whether it’s Hyper-V, VMware, or any other. Quite simply, if a virtual machine gets out of an organization (either maliciously or accidentally) that virtual machine can be run on any other system. Protecting high value assets in your organization such as domain controllers, sensitive file servers, and HR systems is a top priority, which is why we’ve made this scenario a top priority in Windows Server 2016. Quite simply, nothing like it exists in the market.

To learn more about this key capability, check out this article on Guarded Fabric and Shielded VMs.

Shielded VMs is just one of many new security features in a long list in Windows Server 2016. Next, there’s storage.

Scale Out File Server with Storage Spaces Direct (RDMA) for Hyper-converged infrastructure

Windows Server 2016 Datacenter introduces Storage Spaces Direct, which enables building highly available (HA) storage systems with local storage. This is a significant step forward in Microsoft Windows Server software-defined storage (SDS), as it simplifies the deployment and management of SDS systems and also unlocks the use of new classes of disk devices, such as SATA and NVMe disk devices, that were previously not possible with clustered Storage Spaces with shared disks. Windows Server 2016 provides a hyper-converged solution by allowing the same set of servers to provide SDS through Storage Spaces Direct (S2D), and also by serving as the hosts for virtual machines using Hyper-V.

For more information on this area, please reference Storage Spaces Direct in Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview.

Flexible software-defined storage is another great tool for IT Pros. Now, let’s take a look at some enterprise-grade, developer-focused features with Windows Containers.

Containers

Windows Containers provide operating system-level virtualization that allows multiple isolated applications to be run on a single system. Two different types of container runtime are included with the feature, each with a different degree of application isolation. Windows Server Containers achieve isolation through namespace and process isolation while Hyper-V Containers encapsulate each container in a lightweight virtual machine. Curious to learn more? Be sure to reference this documentation piece on Windows Containers.

Like I said at the beginning, these are just a few of the scenarios and feature areas that are resonating so far in Windows Server 2016. We’ve got a lot more in store — we’ll see you at Ignite!