Windows Server 2016 Editions

Windows Server 2016 is essentially available in three versions

  1. Windows Server 2016 Essentials
  2. Windows Server 2016 Standard
  3. Windows Server 2016 Datacenter

The foundation edition in Windows Server 2012 is no longer available.

Essentials

Usage

Essentials edition is ideal for small businesses with basic requirements. Businesses who have a very small or even no IT support.

Virtualisation Rights

Essentials don’t come with any virtualisation rights. You are licensed to one installation (virtual or physical)

Licensing

Essentials edition is licensed based on CPU.  CAL’s are not required but the license is limited to 25 users / 50 devices.

Limits

There is a limit of 64 GB RAM and a maximum of 2 x CPU

Standard

Usage

Standard Edition is for companies which require more features and have a lesser requirement for virtualisation.

Virtualisation Rights

With Standard Edition you can run 2 x Virtual Machines

Licensing

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.

Limits

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).

Features

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

Usage

Datacenter Edition is ideal for companies with a high requirement on IT for their workloads and especially with a large number of virtual systems. 

Virtualisation Rights

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.

Licensing

As per Standard Edition, 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.

Limits

Datacenter  has the same limits as Standard Edition, there is a limit of 24 TB RAM. There is a also a limit of 512 Cores (Remember, you are required to license the cores).

Features

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

Windows Server 2016 Installation Requirements

The minimum requirements according to Microsoft to install Windows Server 2016 are as follows:

Processor

  • Compatible with x64 instruction set
  • Supports NX and DEP
  • Supports CMPXCHG16b, LAHF/SAHF, and PrefetchW
  • Supports Second Level Address Translation (EPT or NPT)

Core Info is a useful tool you can use to check the capabilities of your CPU 

https://technet.microsoft.com/sysinternals/cc835722.aspx

RAM

The following are the estimated RAM requirements for Windows Server 2016

  • 512 MB (2 GB for Server with Desktop Experience installation option)
  • ECC (Error Correcting Code) type or similar technology

If you try to create a VM with 1 processor and 512 MB RAM, the setup will fail. You should allocate more than 800 MB to the VM. Once setup has completed, you can scale back to 512 MB RAM.

Storage

The storage adapter must be compliant with the PCI Express architecture. Persistant storage must not be PATA and Windows Server 2016 does not allow ATA/PATA/IDE/EIDE for boot, page or drives.

The minimum disk space required for the system is 32 GB although I’d recommend more, especially with Windows Updates.

If you are installing Windows Server Core, Core installation is 4 GB smaller than Windows Server with the GUI.

Network

The minimum network adaptor requirements are:

  • An Ethernet adaptor capable of at least gigabit throughput
  • Compliant with the PCI Express architecture specification
  • Supports Pre-boot Execution Environment (PXE)

Other Requirements

You obviously will need something to install the media, whether this be DVD, USB Storage, PXE etc.

The following are not strictly required but may be necessary for certain features and functionality.

  • UEFI 2.3.1c – Required if you want to make use of Secure Boot
  • Trusted Platform Module (TPM) – Stores the RSA encryption for hardware authentication
  • Graphic Device and Monitor (1024×768) or higher – Required for initial installation.
  • Keyboard and Mouse
  • Internet Access – Updates, Activation etc.

For further details on the system requirements, please see the following site. 

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/get-started/system-requirements