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Windows Server 2016 Features
For organizations that have traditionally implemented clustered servers, Hyper-V live migration technologies, and Distributed File System (DFS) file replication, the Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) built into Windows Server 2016 is an integrated roll-up of all of these solutions intended to provide high availability of Windows Server services.
hyperconverged infrastructure Windows Server 2016 Rand Morimoto/IDG
Instead of having two to three separate services (and even third-party SAN storage replicas) running for high availability, Microsoft has built all of this into Windows Server 2016 so that an organization can have typically four or more servers with internal hard drives all meshed together with integrated redundant services.
Hyper-V spans all of the servers in the HCI cluster so that workloads automatically failover between servers (either in the event of a system or service failure or during a rolling patch/update process). Storage Spaces Direct (more on this in the next section) provides RAID-like storage redundancy and recoverability across multiple drives and multiple servers for extremely fast and highly available storage.
And software-defined networking (SDN) provides high-speed networking between HCI cluster nodes for traffic isolation without the need for applications to constantly go “out” of the network to other servers across a LAN, but instead keep the traffic internal to the HCI network for extremely fast application to application communications.
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Storage Spaces Direct
A key component of the HCI that can be broken out and implemented just as high speed/highly available storage is Storage Spaces Direct. With IT spending on storage area networks (SANs) being one of the top continuously growing expenditures for enterprises, Storage Spaces Direct has provided enterprises a way to get high-speed Disk I/O and redundancy without further investment in expensive SANs.
storage spaces direct Windows Server 2016 Rand Morimoto/IDG
Storage Spaces Direct runs off Windows Server 2016 systems with server disks — a typical HP- or Dell-type rack server is all that is needed. Many organizations have found that as they have moved their Exchange email servers to Office 365 over the past year or two, that they have several servers lying around in the data center that are idle. Those servers have been perfect candidates to deploy Storage Spaces Direct and extend storage capacity for the enterprise with little to no additional investment — and get SAN-scale capacity and performance.
Privileged Access Management for Active Directory
With heightened awareness on security, the new Privileged Access Management (PAM) for Active Directory provides a built-in solution for organizations to provide “just enough administration” processes to address network administration controls. For many enterprises, PAM replaces expensive third-party solutions purchased to do the very thing that PAM provides or eliminates the need for organizations to go out and buy, implement and integrate a complex third-party solution.
Privileged Access Management for Active Directory Windows Server 2016 Rand Morimoto/IDG
PAM enables enterprises to isolate the use of privileged accounts of various administrators in the enterprise. So instead of giving full Domain Administrator access to dozens of users, an organization can assign specific access to specific users for a specified length of time.
PAM builds off a framework that Microsoft is continuing to extend in rolling updates to Windows Server 2016 and in the Microsoft Azure cloud to provide Privileged Identity Management across all of Microsoft’s on-premises and cloud services.
Better time accuracy to 1ms with Windows Server 2016
Ten years ago when the networking world was focused solely on internal networks and servers, as long as the time on servers was within 5-10 minutes of each other, the network worked fine. And at that, domain server replication didn’t particularly care about the time of the outside world as long as all of the domain controllers inside the network were relatively in sync.
Better time accuracy Windows Server 2016 Rand Morimoto/IDG
However, these days with stretched networks to cloud services, and with Active Directory being authoritative to SaaS and PaaS applications hosted around the globe, timesync of a LAN with the rest of the world is more critical.
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