Knowledge Base

It is Past Time to be Open to Windows Server 2016

August 15th, 2017

Nobody likes upgrades or changes to back-end infrastructure that, on a typical day, just works.  Such is the life of the server.  Server operating systems are typically a “quoset and forget,”
with the knowledge that this group of servers runs on that flavor of Windows, which will be upgraded at the same time as the hardware.  However, there are compelling reasons to consider an upgrade to Windows Server 2016.

The MOST pressing concern for most IT Departments we work with is Security.

One of the primary vulnerabilities CIS’ elite Security Team uncovers on a regular basis is the continued use of unpatched, unsupported, aging software and operating systems.  Critical vulnerabilities emerge rapidly as products age out of their support model.  If you are currently running Windows 2003 at the server or Windows XP at the desktop; please stop reading and make the change, we will wait.  It’s that important.  For more “current” users who are running Windows 2008 R2, or even Windows 2012, we’d like to ask you to look at those years, and consider where you were at the time.  Now that we have a real feel for how long those products have truly been in the environment, we can understand the inherent security risk in areas like Access Controls and Privileges.  Upgrading Windows provides a chance to both utilize the new tools, such as JEA (Just Enough Access) utilities, and to utilize the opportunity to review who has access to what, and why, across your environment.

Providing a more efficient and reliable platform for applications

At long last, Microsoft has decided to adopt a Container model in their Windows Server product.  With a stated goal of making Windows 2016 a cross-platform operating system for a seamless Hybrid Cloud and On-Premises model, Containers are a hugely important new development in Windows Server 2016.

The idea behind containers is to “park” or “Dock” processes that typically chew on memory resources, segregating them from other processes in a bubble of sorts.  This frees all the other applications to consume required memory and resources, functioning more reliably and efficiently either locally or remotely.  Windows Server 2016 actually includes two versions of Containers, a standard Docker and a customized Hyper-V version.

Nano, Nano.

Ok, you probably read about or used 10 products already today that have nano in their name, but this one may be the most interesting innovation of all.  Included with Windows 2016, under the hood, is Microsoft’s new small footprint Operating System, known as Nano Server.  Nano server utilizes significantly fewer resources, currently able to run on 512MB of disk space and barely 300MB of RAM, and yields a staggering 92% fewer critical bulletins and 80% fewer reboots than typical Windows Server.

Nano Server is not a typical Operating System, it does not have a GUI or command line, it is intended entirely as infrastructure, to work with Hyper-V and in the Hybrid Cloud or Native-Cloud application space.  A single implementation of Nano Server with 1TB of RAM today can run 1,000 Virtual instances of Nano Server, an impressive feat on which Microsoft hopes to dramatically improve. As Microsoft puts it, Windows 2016 is here to Virtualize any workload, without exception.

We don’t work in the cloud, should we care?  YES!

We get it, the cloud isn’t for everyone.  It can be a daunting effort just getting there, and sometimes the learning curve for end users can be too steep.  This is why Microsoft made certain to pack Windows Server 2016 with On-Premises focused enhancements as well.  A primary change is that Windows Server 2016 includes up to 24 TB of RAM to run the resource-intensive applications used by most businesses.  Significant changes have been made to Hyper-V’s encryption  capabilities, access via PowerShell, and the ease with which modification of memory and network configurations are performed.

All of these changes are aimed at delivering a better experience to clients not ready to move to the cloud or hybrid cloud, while providing a platform from which to make, first, the step to Hybrid, followed by an enthusiastic leap to Cloud!

Server power equals business capability

Servers are the underappreciated backbone of a business.  The more powerful the server the more stable and better performing it will be.  By upgrading to Windows Server 2016, your end users will get the best possible experience while running their applications and workloads, and you will gain significant scalability and flexibility to meet the changing needs of your company’s growing dynamic business.

Interested?  Contact your CIS rep today!

CIS has helped clients of all shapes and sizes restructure their Windows Server environment, through most of the previous iterations of Windows.  The CIS team has unrivaled experience providing customized upgrade and migration experiences, utilizing proprietary tools and approaches, to ensure success.  CIS can provide consultation as well as hands-on integration and implementation work for any On-Premises, Hybrid, or Cloud Server Windows environment, get in touch with us today to start the discussion!