Windows Server 2016 will usher in Docker container support and a new, lightweight Nano Server variant. While they're considered among the most cutting-edge and potentially transformative technologies in the data center, a survey of 300 IT professionals from management software company Spiceworks reveals that most administrators have their sights set on improvements to Windows Server's more mundane capabilities.
New functionality in Hyper-V, Microsoft's virtualization platform, was ranked the top, most enticing Windows Server feature (31 percent). "In recent years, server virtualization has made server rooms more efficient, redundant, and less expensive to run. And with high adoption rates of virtualization, IT pros are keen on new functionality that could improve server uptime and resiliency of their networks," Spiceworks IT Content Marketing Manager Peter Tsai told eWEEK.
In Windows 2016, Hyper-V will offer virtual machine (VM) resiliency features and rolling cluster updates among several other capabilities aimed at helping IT personnel better manage their virtual server environments. An attractive cost structure also helps. "Additionally, as new Hyper-V features roll out, many companies are increasingly interested in Microsoft's free hypervisor as an alternative to potentially more costly options," Tsai added.
In second place, and dovetailing with an improved Hyper-V implementation in the upcoming server operating system (OS), is new PowerShell 5.0 functionality (20 percent).
"Busy IT pros love tools like PowerShell because it helps them save time and uniformly automate manual processes," Tsai observed. "The PowerShell Direct improvements in Windows Server 2016 make it even more convenient to configure, manage, and maintain VMs directly from a Hyper-V host instead of from each individual guest OS, saving even more time and opening up new automation possibilities."
Rounding out the top five features are the operating system's enhanced security features (19 percent) like shielded VMs, new software-defined storage capabilities (18 percent) and new software-defined networking features (13 percent).
Despite the perks, most IT professionals are in no rush to adopt the new OS. A mere 4 percent of respondents plan to deploy Windows Server 2016 the moment it becomes generally available while 13 percent said they expect to spin up the OS within the first year of its release.
Twenty-seven percent said they would wait a year or two, while another 13 percent said they don't plan to support the OS until two to three years have passed. The remainder, 43 percent, have no plans or don't know if Windows 2016 is in their future. Part of the reason for such slack demand is that Windows Server 2008, which has a global server OS penetration rate of 80 percent, will be supported by Microsoft until Jan. 14, 2020.
After the OS is officially launched, spending will be light, the study indicates. The majority of early adopters (68 percent) are expecting to part with less than $10,000 in 2016. Only four percent said they expect to spend in excess of $75,000 on Windows Server 2016 software licenses and hardware.