Monday, 10 October 2016

Windows Server 2016 has arrived - Find out what's new

By Dave Jennings

The 1st of October saw the launch of Windows Server 2016, and one of the biggest changes in licensing for Microsoft’s server operating system. The new licensing model is unlike any other, so we will try to explain it and cover some of the common questions we are getting, while attempting to not overcomplicate it any more than Microsoft have already!

So what's new?

The first thing to know is that with the current version, Windows Server 2012 R2, the only difference between the editions is the virtualisation rights: whereas Windows Server Standard allows use of 2 virtual machines (or VMs), Windows Server Datacenter allows an unlimited number. While the VM rights remains the same with the 2016 version, there are now some additional features included with the Datacenter edition which you won’t find in the Standard edition. Details of these new features can be found in the links section at the end of the blog. Windows Server Essentials 2016 is also available for small businesses with up to 25 users/50 devices. 

Also, System Center 2016 is released in line with Windows Server 2016. Systems Center 2016 is a perfect partner to Windows Server to help manage the operating system. You can buy the “Core Infrastructure Suite”, which is a bundle of the two products at a cheaper price than buying them both individually.

Common Questions
With all the new rules, you might be thinking, “where do I start?!” Some great qualifying questions if you get an opportunity for the new version would be to ask:
  • How many physical hosts do you have?
  • How many processors are in this/these host(s)?
  • How many cores are in each host? 
  • How many Virtual Machines do you need to run on each host? 

Downgrading and Upgrading

As always with Microsoft volume licences, you automatically get downgrade rights to older versions. However, we will still need to license using the rules of the current licensing model. This means that even if a customer isn’t ready to move to the 2016 version yet, they still need to undertake the fun task of counting up all of their cores and processors!

If a customer has a licence with software assurance bought before the 1st of October 2016, this will give them the rights to upgrade their software to the 2016 version at no extra cost. If the customer has more than 16 cores they will be granted the rights to run the software on the additional cores, and not have to pay anything more until they come to renew their software assurance. There are a couple of extra conditions here though, so please contact the team for more details.

There will be a second blog post coming soon which goes into detail on the licensing, including licensing scenarios and examples to help get a better understanding, so make sure you keep checking back for updates.

Useful links

Here are some more in depth product details on Windows Server and System Center below:

Windows Server 2016 product page

System Center product page 

Trial the software

Register for one of our Windows Server 2016 Masterclasses

Please contact Emma, Shiraz or Dave on the Licensing Team on 0118 912 6088 or email for further help, advice, or quotes.

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