The following features and feature improvements were introduced in Windows Server 2016:
· Nano Server. Nano Server is a new installation option for Windows Server 2016. With no graphical or command prompt interface, it has a significantly lower hardware requirement than Server Core. Nano Server is the ideal platform for Hyper‑V, Hyper‑V cluster, and scale-out file servers and cloud service apps.
· Windows Server containers and Hyper‑V containers. Containers enable you to isolate your apps from the operating system environment. This improves security and reliability. Windows containers are isolated from one another but run on the host operating system. Hyper‑V containers are further isolated, because they run within a virtual machine.
· Docker. Docker is a technology for managing containers. Although Docker is usually associated with Linux, Windows Server 2016 provides support for Docker for managing Windows containers and Hyper‑V containers.
· Rolling upgrades for Hyper‑V and storage clusters. These upgrades enable you to add Windows Server 2016 nodes to an existing Windows Server 2012 R2 failover cluster. The cluster continues to operate at a Windows Server 2012 R2 functional level until all the nodes are upgraded.
· The ability to hot add and hot remove virtual memory and network adapters from virtual machines. In Hyper‑V in Windows Server 2016, you can now add or remove virtual memory and network adapters while the virtual machines are running.
· Nested virtualization. In Hyper-V in Windows Server 2016, you can enable nested virtualization, enabling you to run Hyper‑V virtual machines within a virtual machine.
· Shielded virtual machines. Shielding your virtual machines enables you to help protect the data on them from unauthorized access.
· PowerShell Direct. This feature enables you to run Windows PowerShell commands against a guest operating system in a virtual machine without handling security policies, host network settings, or firewall settings.
· Windows Defender. Windows Defender is provided to help protect your server against malware. Although the Windows Defender interface is not installed by default, the antimalware patterns are automatically kept up-to-date.
· Storage Spaces Direct. This feature enables you to build highly available storage with directly attached disks on each node in a cluster. The Server Message Block 3 (SMB3) protocol provides resiliency.
· Storage Replica. This feature enables you to synchronously or asynchronously replicate volumes at the block level.
· Microsoft Passport. This service replaces passwords with two-factor authentication that consists of an enrolled device and a Windows Hello (biometric) or PIN. This helps provide a more secure and convenient sign-in experience.
· Remote Desktop Services. You can now use an Azure SQL database to create a high availability environment for Remote Desktop Connection Broker.
· Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS). AD DS improvements include support for privileged access management (PAM), support for Azure AD Join, along with support for Microsoft Passport.