Microsoft has announced the release of the much awaited Windows Server 2016. The product will be uncovered at the Ignite conference in Atlanta,Georgia this fall. Microsoft has also released the Technical Preview 5 for Windows Server 2016.

Windows Server 2016 includes 3 main editions:

  • Datacenter: This edition continues to deliver significant value for organizations that need unlimited virtualization along with powerful new features including Shielded Virtual Machines, software-defined storage and software-defined networking.
  • Standard: This edition is ideal for organizations that need limited virtualization but require a robust, general purpose server operating system.
  • Essentials: This edition is designed for smaller organizations with less than 50 users.

These editions will be available for purchase on the October 2016 price list. More details on editions and pricing for Windows Server 2016 can be found here.

Nano Server is a new feature added to the Standard and Datacenter additions to allow installation on virtual machines. Such machines are low on resources and the Nano Server option won’t have a graphic user interface.

Microsoft has also described how Windows Server 2016 will be serviced going forward. Full installations of the operating system—including the GUI and shell—will continue to be serviced on the “5+5” model that Microsoft has used for previous operating systems. That’s five years of mainstream support, during which both bug fixes and feature improvements are made, and then five years of extended support, during which only security bugs will be fixed. The slimmed down Server Core installation will also be given this 5+5 servicing.


Nano server feature will be handled in a different way. Nano Server installations will be updated more or less in tandem with the Windows 10 Current Branch for Business (CBB) release. CBB trails the main consumer branch by about six months, giving new features a bit of time to receive some real-world testing before being distributed to more conservative organizations. CBB is expected to be updated two to three times a year, and this will apply to Nano Server deployments of Windows Server 2016 just as it does to CBB deployments of Windows 10.

Unlike Windows 10, Nano Server systems won’t update automatically to the latest CBB build when it becomes available. That update will need to be manually triggered. But like Windows 10, support for CBB will be limited: only the current CBB release and its immediate predecessor will be supported.

Nano Server will also require a Software Assurance agreement for production deployments.

Other than the Nano Server, the Standard and Datacenter Windows Server editions will also be available as Server with Desktop Experience and Server Core installation.

You can try the Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5. This is the final preview released by Microsoft which was last updated on April 26.