Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V: More secure, but not faster

Hyper-V 2016 tightens VM security and eases management, but seems to have lost a step

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In summary, Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V introduces an impressive array of new features. The primary reasons to upgrade are to gain better security and support for containers. If you’re drawn to Windows Server 2016 by Nano Server, keep in mind that Nano Server VMs can be hosted on the previous Hyper-V version. On the other hand, using Nano Server as your Hyper-V 2016 host could potentially provide significant performance gains to any hosted VMs.


Cost: Microsoft offers two different editions of Windows Server 2016 suitable for use on virtualization hosts. Windows Server 2016 Standard Edition is designed for low density, or nonvirtualized environments, and retails for $882. Standard Edition allows for up to two operating system instances (typically, the host OS and a single virtual machine), but multiple Standard Edition licenses can be stacked to allow for additional OS instances. Windows Server 2016 Datacenter Edition is generally the best choice for use on Hyper-V hosts. The operating system retails for $6,115, but allows for an unlimited number on OS instances on the host. In addition, Microsoft provides a free hypervisor called Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2016. The free version of Hyper-V does not include any guest OS licenses, but may be a viable choice for organizations that need to run legacy or open source operating systems on virtual machines.

At a Glance
  • Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V contains some impressive new security features, most notably shielded VMs, but performance seems to have slipped.


    • Shielded VMs make Hyper-V virtual machines significantly more secure
    • Support for system disk encryption of Generation 1 (legacy) VMs
    • The Hyper-V Manager will be perfectly familiar to Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V admins
    • Support for Nano Server as Hyper-V host and guest
    • Ability to host Windows containers
    • Hyper-V checkpoints are finally application-aware and supported for production environments


    • Based on my own benchmark tests, VM performance is diminished compared to Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V
    • Creating and managing containers is very unintuitive

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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