It came from Redmond: Windows Server 2016 could rattle the competition

Enlarge / Server administrator kaiju hates user password reset requests. (credit: Bandai Namco Entertainment America (CC))

A couple of decades ago, Microsoft was the kaiju of network computing. First came MS-DOS, and Windows soon followed. Each simply took over business desktops. Before Novell knew what hit it, Windows was then infused with the DNA of OS/2 and became Windows NT and in turn NT Server. Novel had dominated the early PC networking market, but by the end of the 1990s the company was a shadow of its former self.

Like a special breed of kaiju, Microsoft's server platform keeps on mutating, incorporating the DNA of its competitors in sometimes strange ways. All the while, Microsoft's offering has constantly grown in its scope, creating variants of itself in the process. Godzilla often retreats, battered after battle, to regenerate, and the monster has spawned multiple variants (Roland Emmerich's 'Zilla is the Microsoft Bob of Godzillas, right?). Windows Server has done the same, coming back again and again to disrupt another server market with a snap of its 80-percent-functionality-for-20-percent-of-cost teeth.

In 2016, it's happening again. Microsoft Windows Server 2016 picks up where its predecessor (Server 2012 R2) left off three years ago. The last release of Server strove to elevate the status of Microsoft's server platform. It went from being an also-ran in the movement from on-premises servers to an increasingly virtualized, cloud-based enterprise to being integral to business cloud computing itself. With four different versions (Essentials, Hyper-V Server, Standard, and Datacenter), three different deployment schemes ("Desktop experience," Core, and Nano), and an ever-expanding collection of optional features, Server 2016 wants to be everything for everyone. It's a heavyweight virtualization hypervisor! It's a lithe cloud application container! It's a high performance storage platform! It's a hardened security platform!

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