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What’s new in Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 2

Earlier today we announced the release of Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 2. We hope that in the coming weeks, you’ll take the time to try the preview and experience the new features first-hand. But to give you a snapshot of the technology innovation being delivered, we have compiled a favorites list. This list isn’t intended to be a full catalog of what’s coming. Our goal is to show off how new approaches to infrastructure are going to make a material difference in the way you approach IT challenges. Technology innovation fuels business innovation, and we’re excited to see the ways that our customers are going to use these new features to drive competitive value. So let’s take a look at what made the highlights reel.

Compute and Virtualization: Simplified upgrades, new installment options, and increased resilience, helping you ensure the stability of the infrastructure without limiting agility.

  1. Rolling upgrades for Hyper-V and scale-out file server clusters for faster adoption of new operating systems
  2. Functionality for hot add and remove memory and NIC, reducing downtime
  3. Virtual machine compute resiliency, so that virtual machines continue running even if the compute cluster fabric service fails
  4. Nano Server, a deeply refactored version of Windows Server with a small footprint and remotely managed installation, optimized for the cloud and a DevOps workflow

Networking: Continued investment to make networking as flexible and cost-effective as possible while ensuring high performance.

  1. Converged NIC across tenant and RDMA traffic to optimize costs, enabling high performance and network fault tolerance with only 2 NICs instead of 4
  2. PacketDirect on 40G to optimize performance

Storage: Expanding capabilities in software-defined storage with an emphasis on resilience, reduced cost, and increased control.

  1. Virtual Machine Storage Path resiliency, enabling virtual machines to pause and restart gracefully in response to either transient or permanent storage path failures
  2. Storage Spaces Direct to enable aggregation of Storage Spaces across multiple servers, pushing the cost of storage down while allowing for increased scale out
  3. Storage quality of service (QoS) for more control and predictable performance
  4. Storage Replica, giving you synchronous storage replication for affordable business continuity and disaster recovery strategies

Security and Assurance: Protecting against today’s threats with a “zero-trust” approach to security that is rooted in the hardware.

  1. New Host Guardian Service, part of a trust and isolation boundary between the cloud infrastructure and guest OS layers
  2. Just Enough Administration to reduce the risk of security breaches by allowing users to perform only specific tasks

Management: Ongoing advances to simplify server management and increase consistency in approach.

  1. PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) for easier, consistent and faster deployment and updates.
  2. PowerShell Package Manager  for unified package management and deployment
  3. Windows Management Framework 5.0 April Preview and DSC Resource Kit  (available online simultaneously with TP2)

And much more, including new features for IIS, RDS, and AD such as:

  1. Conditional access control in AD FS, allows requiring a device compliant with policies to access resources
  2. Support for application authentication with OpenID Connect and OAuth, making it easier to build mobile enterprise applications
  3. Full OpenGL support with RDS for VDI scenarios
  4. Server-side support for HTTP/2 including header compression, connection multiplexing and server push.

So what’s the next step? Check out the Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 2 here, and start learning more about what’s new and notable.

Please note that this is pre-released software; features and functionality may differ in the final release.