Windows Server 2016 is essentially available in three versions
- Windows Server 2016 Essentials
- Windows Server 2016 Standard
- Windows Server 2016 Datacenter
The foundation edition in Windows Server 2012 is no longer available.
Essentials don’t come with any virtualisation rights
Essentials edition is licensed based on CPU. CAL’s are not required but the license is limited to 25 users / 50 devices.
There is a limit of 64 GB RAM and a maximum of 2 x CPU
Standard Edition is for companies which require more features and have a lesser requirement for virtualisation.
With Standard Edition you can run 2 x Virtual Machines
Standard licensing differs from Essentials. You are required to license based on the number of cores in the server. In addition, you need to purchase CALs (user or device) for each endpoint connecting.
With Standard Edition, there is a limit of 24 TB RAM. There is a limit of 512 Cores (Remember, you are required to license the cores).
Standard has the following features, also available in Datacenter but not available in Essentials.
- Core Functionality
- Hyper-V Containers
- Windows Server Containers
- Host Guardian Service
- Nano Server
Datacenter Edition is ideal for companies with a high requirement on IT for their workloads and especially with a large number of virtual systems.
Datacenter Edition allows you to run unlimited virtual machines and Hyper-V containers. It is usually more cost effective than purchasing the relevant number of Standard Edition for the virtual machines required. If you are running a hypervisor other than Hyper-V, chances are you have Datacenter license.
As per Standard Edition, you
Datacenter has the following additional features, not available in Essentials or Standard.
- Storage Features (Storage Spaces Direct, Storage Replica etc.)
- Shielded Virtual Machines
- Networking Stack