6 Reasons Windows Server 2016 Has Hyper-V Fans Excited
Microsoft’s Ignite conference is fast approaching and with it comes the release of the company’s latest server OS, Windows Server 2016. Between the new security features and the cloud-readiness, there are plenty of reasons for folks in IT to be excited about the impending release. Hyper-V admins in particular have a lot to look forward to in the newest version of Windows Server.
6 new features coming to Windows Server 2016
Here are six of the features soon to rank among the favorites of Hyper-V admins once Windows Server 2016 officially launches at Ignite, which runs from Sept. 26-30 in Atlanta, GA.
- Nested Virtualization – This feature is a bit like a Russian nesting doll of virtualization in the sense that it allows Hyper-V to run within a Hyper-V virtual machine (VM). Virtualizing the Hyper-V host in this way opens up a few interesting use cases for admins and developers. For example, deploying a Hyper-V lab in an environment that is already virtualized or executing multi-machine test scenarios without the need to have each subject supported by individual hardware. Another interesting aspect of Nested Virtualization is that it makes it possible to containerize Hyper-V itself.
- Shielded Virtual Machines – Most organizations have taken steps to protect VMs against fellow VMs should they be compromised. What about protecting VMs from compromised hosts? Windows Server 2016 addresses this need through Shielded VMs. This feature encrypts VMs using Bitlocker, gives them a virtual TPM, and makes it so they can only run on select, healthy hosts. Shielding VMs prevents a compromised host from wreaking havoc within an environment. It also ensures that, should a VM find its way outside of an approved environment for any reason, it will not run.
- PowerShell Direct – Previously, Hyper-V admins had essentially two types of tools at their disposal to connect a VM on a Hyper-V host. They could use either remote management tools (i.e., PowerShell) or VM Connect. Each option had its advantages and disadvantages. Windows Server 2016’s PowerShell Direct feature provides a best of both worlds approach, joining PowerShell’s scripting and automation with VM Connect’s zero-configuration. The result can eliminate the need to configure firewalls and connect to the network in order to use Hyper-V VMs to automate processes.
- Failover cluster rolling upgrades – Any admin tasked with upgrading from Windows Server 2008 R2 up to Windows Server 2012 likely remembers what a process it could be. First, all resources had to be moved off the server, which then needed to be completely rebuilt. This included making a new cluster with new storage. The good news? Upgrading from Windows Server 2012 R2 to Windows Server 2016 should be a much more streamlined process. Resources will still need to be live migrated off a server, however, from there it works like a regular Windows upgrade. There’s no need to create additional storage volumes or new clusters.
- Storage Replica – Disaster recovery and business continuity are all about peace of mind and Windows Server 2016’s Storage Replica feature provides exactly that. Storage Replica generates that peace of mind through SAN-style volume replication. For the first time, Windows Server will be able to synchronously protect data across racks, buildings, locations, etc. After disaster strikes, admins can rest assured their data will still be available to them. Should they catch wind of a problem early, admins also have the power to manually switch workloads over to a more secure location, again addressing the data loss concerns.
- Storage Spaces Direct – PowerShell Direct isn’t the only new feature promising Hyper-V admins the “best of both worlds.” Storage Spaces Direct lets admins build highly-available, flexible storage out of their existing local storage. This feature lets admins join together local hosts. Once connected, Storage Spaces Direct will then protect the data contained in those newly created storage systems. In this way, Storage Spaces Direct combines the benefits of shared storage with those offered by cost-effective local storage while eliminating the risk of local disk failures.
Is Windows Server 2016 right for you?
Microsoft is investing heavily in Hyper-V and in 2016, Microsoft appeared as a leader in Gartner’s x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure Magic Quadrant. Hyper-V is, after all, the technology behind Azure.
Microsoft has developed a new licensing program to incentivize customers to move to Microsoft, so if you were thinking about making the jump, now might be an excellent time. Regardless of whether you want to stay on-premises with Hyper-V or move some of your workloads to Azure, Arraya’s Microsoft team can help.
Reach out to a member of Arraya’s award-winning Microsoft team today at firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be reached at www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us/. They’re ready to work with you to devise an upgrade strategy that makes sense for your businesses’ unique needs.