Windows Server 2016 Released in October
As confirmed in a Microsoft blog, the final version of Windows Server 2016 will be released in October and be available in three editions: Datacenter, Standard, and Essentials.
Datacenter Edition is intended for companies and organizations that rely on an extensive virtualization of their server center, combined with new or enhanced features like “Shielded Virtual Machines”, “Software Defined Storage”, or “Software Defined Networking”. Standard Edition, however, is for companies that virtualize only a small amount of machines or, for some reasons, require physical operating systems. And Essentials Edition is for small businesses with less than 50 devices.
Windows Server 2016 Datacenter and Standard Edition will be shipped with three different installation options. The “Server with Desktop Experience” option provides not only the complete Windows client shell, locally available Server Management Console and Server Management Tools, but also the “Long Term Servicing Branch” (LTSB) update which is known from Windows 10 Enterprise.
The already with Windows Server 2008 implemented installation option “Server Core” will remove all roles and features that require a graphical user interface, e.g. Remote Desktop Services, or other local graphical elements. Management can then either be done from remote or locally via console or PowerShell.
The "Nano Server" option, however, is a completely new installation option of Windows Server 2016. Nano Server is a deeply stripped down operating system that will provide only those core functions of a platform system that are required for cloud-native applications, based on virtualization, container technologies or micro services. All Nano Server administration is performed remotely.
Microsoft did also give some information concerning the future maintenance intervals of Windows Server 2016. Like in the previous versions, the maintenance of Windows Server 2016 will follow the “5+5” model which means 5 years mainstream support plus 5 years extended support.
The installation options “Server with Desktop Experience” and “Server Core” will be updated within the scope of Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB). In addition to the monthly security updates, new features will be only released per year.
However, Nano Server maintenance will follow a more active model that rather resembles the one of Windows 10. For Nano Server, new features or updates will be continuously released according to the “Current Branch for Business” (CBB) model.
From that, Microsoft expects better reaction to the rapid development of cloud technologies. At least two or three feature updates per year have been announced. Similar to Windows 10 or System Center, at least each second CBB update has to be installed in order to maintain full support. For the options “Server with Desktop Experience” and “Server Core”, CBB will not be available.