Windows Server 2016: Top New Features

Windows Server 2016 will be releasing very soon. There are a whole host of new features coming for almost every layer of the OS. We will look at a few of those now.

Shielded VMs

First, there are a lot of Hyper-V improvements coming, with the concept of Shielded VMs being one of the most exciting. The biggest improvement that this will get you is a virtualized TPM module that you can mount in a VM. This will allow you to encrypt the vhdx file itself. Your physical hardware need a TPM of its own for this to work.

You will be able to designate particular physical hosts for these Shielded VMs. There hosts will be approved by you. You’ll be able to guarantee that your high-value VMs are only running on healthy hosts. This process works with the new Host Guardian Service, which essentially hands an approved host a certificate that says it can access the VMs TPM module.

Nano Server

Server 2016 will ship with Nano Server. This is similar to Server Core, which was debuted with Server 2008 R2. Nano Server takes an even less footprint on a device then Server Core. Early documentation states that its footprint on the drive is 512MB, and will only need 256MB of memory to run.

The issue with Nano Server is that it will run even fewer applications then Server Core. It’s really built to be a compute host for Hyper-V or be part of a scale-out file server. Nano does not even have a command line GUI like Core. READ: there is no GUI or Shell interface. The only interface is an emergency management console, with limited capabilities like diagnosing network issues. All management is done via remote PowerShell.

It can also run IIS and DNS roles. You will be able to install the System Center Virtual Manager agent for management purposes. At RTM, you will not be able to install the ConfigMgr client on Nano Server. There are some rumblings in the blog-o-sphere that this will be supported in a later release.

Just Enough Administration

This is concept of providing just enough rights to allow a system administrator to do a task. This works with PowerShell, and can be applied to anything that PowerShell does. This can limit the number of users who actually need to be full administrators on a server. It works by creating a PowerShell configuration file that maps users to specific management roles.

This only works from PowerShell. It does not prevent GUI access, so you will have to configure the box properly for it work.

JEA comes with Windows Management Framework 5.0, so it is possible to use it on Server 2012 R2 and Windows 10.

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