Windows Server is a server operating system created by Microsoft. Currently available in eight versions, Windows Server OS consists of approximately 33.5% of the global server OS market. Our article is focused on Windows Server 2016, the second most recent release which has been generally available since October 12, 2016. The operating system comes in two editions, Standard and Datacenter. The purpose of our article is to reveal the differences and similarities between the two Windows Server 2016 versions. The key difference is in the type of workloads they can handle. Specifically, the Standard Edition does not provide some of the features available in Datacenter Edition.
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Windows Server 2016: Basic Characteristics
Before proceeding to the comparison of Windows Server 2016 versions, let’s take a quick glance over the basic features the two editions share. Of course, the entire list is not limited to the features outlined below, though the following definitely deserve special attention.
New in 2016, this is a server operating system with remote administration, designed for private clouds and datacenters. It is compact (consumes little more than 512MB of disk space and approximately 256MB of memory), fast to set up, and largely undemanding when it comes to updates and system restarts.
In fact, Nano Server is quite similar to Windows Server in Server Core mode, though it comes with fewer requirements. As for use cases, Nano Server is perfect in a role of a “compute” host for Hyper-V VMs, including those in clusters. It can also be used as a storage host for Scale-Out File Server, as a DNS server, a web server running Internet Information Services (IIS), and so on.
Storage Spaces Direct
This solution provides a way to create a highly scalable software-defined storage unit with basic features of a traditional SAN or NAS, all while still staying within your budget. The technology relies on industry-standard servers with local-attached drives, and includes features such as caching, storage tiers, and erasure coding. There are two deployment options available: hyper-converged and converged, which greatly simplifies the deployment process.
Cluster rolling upgrade
This technology enables you to upgrade the operating system of cluster nodes without needing to stop the Hyper-V or Scale-Out File Server workloads that are running on the nodes. Put differently, this is a way to help minimize if not fully avoid downtimes. This functionality requires neither any additional hardware to use, nor the presence of a new cluster, and the upgrade process can be reversed unless you choose the “point-of-no-return”.