What is Windows Server 2016? Windows Server 2016 is a server operating system from Microsoft. It differs from a UNIX-based operating system in that it offers easier management through a better interface. The Windows Server web hosting environment supports major web programming languages and databases like PHP, MySQL, ASP.NET and MS SQL. There are a lot of advantages to the Windows Server.

If you are familiar with Windows, you will have no trouble getting used to Windows Server 2016. Most people using Windows Server hosting use ASP.NET, which is a free web framework for building web sites and web applications using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Anybody using it can develop websites using the familiar interface of Microsoft tools such as Web Deploy and Visual Studio. With ASP.NET, you can also develop a database-driven website with Microsoft SQL database.

What Are Roles and Features in Windows Server?

You hear the terms “roles” and “features” a lot when referring to Windows Server. There is a difference between roles and features. A server role is a set of programs installed and configured so a computer performs specific functions for multiple users or computers on a network. Roles describe the primary function, purpose, and use of a computer. A single computer can be dedicated to perform a single role or it can perform several roles. Roles also provide users with access to resources managed by other computers printers, websites, or files on different computers. Roles typically have their own database for handling user requests. Features add support or augment the functionality of one or more roles. They also improve the functionality of the server.

Here are some server roles

  • Windows AD/DC Server
  • DNS
  • DHCP
  • File
  • Print
  • NAP
  • Terminal Server
  • IIS
  • WDS
  • WSS

Here are some features

  • .NET
  • Bitlocker Encryption
  • BITS
  • Remote Assistance
  • SMTP Server
  • SNMP
  • Telnet server & client
  • Failover
  • NLB
  • TFTP
  • Windows Server Backup
  • WINS
  • Powershell

Windows Server 2016

There are many versions of Windows Server. Windows Server 2016 is still a viable option for many businesses that have a budget and want to find a balance between cost effectiveness and a great feature set.


Is ideal for small businesses with basic IT requirements. This means a company that is very small and has no IT department or even a dedicated IT specialist can benefit from the features and capabilities of this edition. CALs are not required for Essentials, but it is limited to 25 users/50 devices.


This edition of Windows Server 2016 is for mid to large size companies that need advanced features and virtualize to a lesser extent. This is really one of the most popular editions for a range of businesses. Standard allows for two virtual machines and requires CALs.


Is the workhorse for companies of any size that have high IT requirements and huge IT workloads utilizing many virtual systems. Datacenter allows for unlimited virtual machines and requires CALs.

Windows Server 2019 is brand new and brings much more functionality to the table. Since the range of potential deployments makes impossible to pinpoint any realistic recommended system requirements, you need to always consult specific product documentation for each of the server roles to determine what you need to deploy the way you want to deploy. If you have the budget, Windows Server 2019 is a powerful choice, with all of the expected editions to offer you the widest range of productivity.

Key Windows Server 2016 Features

Nano Server

Are similar to Windows Server Core mode, a Nano Server must be remotely administered, as it provides no local logon capability and only supports 64-bit applications. Nano Server is optimized for use in private clouds and data centers, as well as running web services, such as DNS or IIS.

Windows containers

Allow for operating system-level virtualization by providing just enough access to the OS, libraries and underlying resources to host applications in an isolated user-space.

Active Directory Domain Services

Privileged Access Management (PAM) helps to address the theft of credentials by working with Microsoft Identity Manager (MIM) to protect the Active Directory (AD) forest from accounts with privileged access. Additionally, new processes are in place for requesting administrative access and monitoring of such accounts, including the expiring links feature, which limits the administrative window period based on a specified time frame.

Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS)

Continues to provide simple, secure identity federation and Single Sign-On (SSO) between ADFS-secured enterprises and partner organizations. The ability to authenticate users stored in LDAP or cloud-based providers is new for Windows Server 2016.


Introduces hot management of virtual networking adapters and memory for virtual machines. For those who are security-minded, Windows Server 2016 includes shielded virtual machines that minimize tampering with or the theft of data and virtual machine states by encrypting both and preventing the inspection of video signals and disks.

Windows Defender

Is Microsoft's Windows Server Anti-malware. It is installed by default in Windows Server 2016 in an effort to detect and neutralize malware threats in real-time with automatic updating.

Storage Spaces Direct

Enables the building of high-availability storage from local storage systems, including JBODs stored locally or networked as part of a storage pool.

PowerShell 5.0

Continues the trend toward being Microsoft's primary management terminal. It retains backward compatibility while introducing new cmdlets and modules for remote management and scripting of clients, servers, and applications.

Is Migrating to Another Version of Windows Server a Good Idea?

A lot of companies and organizations will consider migrating to Windows 2016. There many reasons to switch, but if you are operating a Windows Server earlier than 2016, it’s a good idea to migrate. The enhanced security updates alone make Windows Server 2016 a good upgrade. Even if your budget is tight, it’s a good idea WIndows Server 2016 will serve your needs.

For enhanced features and security in a price range most businesses can afford and most systems can run, Windows Server 2016 gives you the best of the Windows Server family without having to migrate to the latest version.