Sunday, May 01, 2016

Stepping into Microsoft Windows Server 2016

Subtitle: Technical Preview 5 has arrived

For over 6 months now Windows Server has been my test Operating system install of choice.  Why?

- I like to learn about new Windows Features
- It fully supports newer standards like secure_boot and UEFI
- It is FREE!

Yes,  simply sign up to Technet Evaluation  and you can download the software, don't forget to get your Installation Key onscreen.  And you are all done.

I've used it countless times on machines I am test installing, messing about with the odd software program, say in a secure virtual machine, or for a test PC build.   In the Linux world I'd go for Ubuntu 16.04 and in the Windows world it just has to be Server 2016 TP (Technical Preview) 5

Why  Server
For a workstation this also raises the question what would I best run? For me, again it is Windows Server and when 2016 become production I'd like to move to it from the current 2012 Server

Not for Production
Right now you be a dumbo install this on your production workstation because
- It's beta software you idiot and could trash or corrupt any data on your system

- You have to re-install between Technical Preview Releases, there is no upgrade right now

Keep nothing!  Must do a re-install

The Pros and Cons

+ Premium Software

It has all the features of Windows 10, yes, but a lot more. So there is no downside. Well, in fact no touchscreen support but for a desktop workstation this is not usually a requirement.

(Also I'd note that PIN logon is not yet supported but Microsoft Internet logon now is)

+ Reliability
On my primary workstation which I necessarily treat like a production system, I have not had a blue screen since I can remember, so that is over 5 years.  Better than our Apple OSX system for example.

+ Software Updates
Seem to be well delivered. Apart from a dodgy perio in Spring 2016, when updates did not seem to apply, now fixed, I've had zero issues with 2012 server, or 2016 server
+ Bonkers Limits 

+ Lots of  Features to Add or Explore

Why Not Server

- Bluetooth
Until server 2016 no BlueTooth Support on a modern Windows Server platform. But it IS there in 2016 server, so we are good

(I did have a workaround but to-date on Server 2012 it is still rather buggy)

- OS Software Cost
Well it is a little more expensive than Windows 10 Professional but the Standard Edition is worth the Extra in my opinion.   Anyway, right now it is free!

- Application Software Cost
Application vendors love to charge (a lot) for Server equivalent software.   2 tiny examples.

AVG Virus - regular Windows Free
AVG for server - 50 CHF per year

mini Partition Disk Utility - regular Windows Free
Partition for Server - 129 USD

- Does not Run on Server
Some software just refuses to run on Server.  It checks and says no.

Don't be an Idiot

For non DataCentre use, and given the price of memory, I'd never use the non GUI nano server.  Simpler it might be, but Windows without a GUI.  Call me old skool, but that is stupid++.   Nano server, just say no, no, and thrice no.

2016 server new features
2016 Server Updates, Storage Spaces Direct, PowerShell improvements, Containers, ReFS, Hyper-V rolling

Please follow these links to learn more

Technical Preview Root
Windows Server Blog What is new in win 2016 preview video
New in File and Storage Spaces


+ A free, ultra high quality OS with bzillions of features
- Eventually it will time out and it's expensive to buy, but worth it for a more reliable workstation OS
+ Makes a great test OS meanwhile
+ Standout features like Storage Spaces
- Can't upgrade from previous preview needs reinstall

Get Windows 2016 Server Here Free