Windows Server 2016

Windows Server 2016 is the cloud-ready operating system that supports current workloads while introducing new technologies that make it easy to transition to cloud computing at your own pace. It delivers powerful new layers of security along with Azure-inspired innovation for the applications and infrastructure that are essential to your business.

Windows Server 2016 Editions

There are two editions of Windows Server 2016, Standard and Datacenter.

  Standard Edition Datacenter Edition
Licensing Model* Core + CAL Core + CAL
Core functionality of Windows Server
Windows Server containers unlimited unlimited
OSEs/Hyper-V containers** 2 unlimited
New storage features including Storage Spaces Direct and Storage Replica***  
New Shielded Virtual Machines  

* See Licensing Datasheet for additional detail. Minimum license requirement: 8 cores per processor, 16 cores per server.
** Windows Server Standard Edition license permits 2 OSEs (operating system environments) when all physical cores are licensed.
*** Features for advanced software-defined datacenter scenarios.

Benefits of Windows Server 2016

New Layers of Security

Windows Server 2016 delivers new capabilities to prevent attacks and detect suspicious activity with features to control privileged access, protect virtual machines and harden the platform against emerging threats.

Resilient Compute

Run your datacenter with a highly automated, resilient, virtualized server operating system.

Cloud-Inspired Networking

Windows Server 2016 delivers key networking features used in the Azure datacenters to support agility and availability in your datacenter.

Enables Software-defined Infrastructure

Windows Server 2016 delivers capabilities to help you create a more flexible and cost-efficient datacenter using software-defined compute, storage and network virtualization features inspired by Azure.

Reduced Cost for Storage

Windows Server 2016 includes expanded capabilities in software-defined storage with an emphasis on resilience, reduced cost, and increased control.

Innovative Application Platform

Windows Server 2016 delivers new ways to deploy and run your applications – whether on-premises or in Microsoft Azure – using capabilities such as Windows containers and the lightweight Nano Server deployment option.


Identity is the new control plane to secure access to on-premises and cloud resources. It centralizes your ability to control user and administrative privileges to protect your data and applications from malicious attack. At the same time, users are more mobile than ever, and need access to computing resources from virtually anywhere.

Azure Hybrid Use Benefit (SA required)

Whenever you are ready to transition workloads to the public cloud, you can now leverage your existing investment in Windows Server. The Azure Hybrid Use Benefit allows you to bring your on-premises Windows Server license with Software Assurance to Azure. Rather than paying the full price for a new Windows Server virtual machine, you will only pay the base compute rate.

Changes to Windows Server licensing:  Now per core licensing

In contrast to older versions of Windows Server, Microsoft is switching server licensing from per processor to per core licensing for the 2016 version. One Windows Server 2016 license will now cover two cores. The number of licenses required depends on the number of cores in a processor (with 8 cores as a minimum licensing requirement for each server). This means that prices will increase for all new licenses for servers with processors that have more than 8 cores. With Windows Server 2012 R2, any number of cores was covered by a processor license. Now, any number of cores in a server that exceeds the minimum requirement of 8 licenses will mean additional costs compared to Windows Server 2012 R2 when purchasing new licenses.

Price for 16 core licenses Windows Server 2016 = Price for 1 processor license Windows Server 2012 R2

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