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Review: Windows Server 2016 (Currently in Tech. Preview 3)

Server with a desktop - Desktop of Windows Server 2016

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avatar Dr_Steve
Level 36 : Artisan Robot
35
Hey everyone, _The_Doktor (formerly known as Dr__Steve) here! Today we will be reviewing something relatively new! It is Windows Server 2016; it is the latest version of Windows Server, and is currently in Technical Preview number 3 and it is expected to be officially released in early 2016. I will review this new operating system (even though it hasn't been officially released, until early 2016).

Appearance/User Interface

The operating system in general was quite good, and one other intresting thing is in the Server Core installation, which only has the Command prompt and does not have the GUI installed.

    This is intresting because the entire logon UI, as well as the Ctrl-Alt-Delete screen you get when you press when you press those buttons is also in a command prompt window also, and I haven't seen such in Windows Server, even though those install methods probably existed since Windows Server 2008 and newer.

Also, the graphical UI is intresting, especially the start menu, because of the way it looks like in Windows 10, but it only has the list of programs without the area on the side where all your apps are; that is obviously not in there in Windows Server because why would you want or even need apps on a server?

Features

I have, in general liked the features and roles provided in Windows Server 2016, and better is that IIS (Internet Information Services, it is a feature in WIndows that lets you host SMTP (email protocol), HTTP(S) and FTP(S) server) version 10, and it supports HTTP/2 and the Telnet server is not included because Telnet is unsecure because it transmits passwords, etc. in plain text (anyone sniffing net traffic can be able to find that) and people won't usually install Windows Server 2016 on old hardware. I mentioned "old hardware" because some protocols such as SSH require a FPU (Floating Point Unit) and also people won't usually, if at all, install Windows Server on an old PC that has a Pentium (not the new Intel Pentiums) processor in it.

Also, I also like that some UI features in Windows Server 2016 look like those from Windows 10, just like Windows Server 2003 had some UI elements from Windows XP, as well as Windows Server 2008 , Windows Server 2008 R2, Win2K12 and Win2K12 R2 having UI elements from Windows Vista and Windows 7, as well as those from Windows 8 and 8.1, respectively.

However, one thing that existed in either Win2K3 / 2K3 R2, or Win2K8, and later, is that on first logon, you use the built-in administrator account (on client versions of Windows (ie. Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8/8.1), it is normally disabled, but the first user you setup on first boot is administrator, but just like Linux, the true Administrator [in Linux, it's referred as root] is by default, disabled. On client versions of Windows, the only usual way to get the built in Administrator account, is to use SAFE MODE) , which by using the built in admin account (root, in the case of Linux), seems unsecure to use for day-to-day use; someone with physical access to the machine with an unprotected root/Administrator account, can do anything, including any destructive command, as well as someone that is unaware of what they're doing, or don't know what they're doing, can damage the OS to an extent you need to reinstall, and want to hope you have current backups of your data; one destructive action at the Linux terminal/command line, for example is to do rm -rf / and the simple invocation of that command will delete everything on your HDD/SSD.
However, on WIndows Server, there are password complexity requirements, by default, enabled and enforced, even on first logon; it will ask you that the users password must be changed

The complexity requirements are that there needs to contain English uppercase and English lowercase characters, as well as non-alphabetic characters (such as the symbols you get when you hold SHIFT and type one of the numbers (only the top row of numbers; the row underneath the function row of buttons, F1 - F12), as well as base ten digits; however, I assume that only 3 of the 4 categories mentioned above (in bold) are necessary.

Also, the password needs to be 6+ characters long, and cannot contain the user account name, nor parts of the user's full name that exceed 2 characters consecutively; that setting is enforced when passwords are created or changed.

However, I still think that is a very good security policy, especially when the built in Admin account on Windows Server is signed into for the first time. I still would prefer to have a strong password for myself and everyone in my enterprise for data protection

Another updated thing was the IIS (Internet Information Services) server (if you don't know what IIS is, in short, it is an extensible HTTP(S), FTP(S), SMTP and NNTP server, built into Windows NT-based OS's, such as WinXP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10 as well as Windows Server (2003, 2008, 2012, and 2016)

                           Core install
                
            The core install does not have the GUI; rather, all the work and administration is in a command prompt window, and even the logon UI is in a CMD window, and so is the Control-Alt-Delete screen is also in a CMD window, and you need to use the arrow keys to select an option; at least, I assume we still have Notepad, Regedit, Task Manager, as well as any more GUI-based tools.


                 Furthermore, you may not need as much system resources  on core install, as evidenced that task manager said only (approxmately) 400 of 1024 MB of RAM was used, so after you install it to a VM, you can safely decrease the amount of RAM to about 512 MB; however, I still suggest you have more.   

Overall

I would give Windows Server a 9 out of 10

Suggested Improvements

The main problem is  that, during the first time boot, after installed, it can freeze, and become a pain to setup; however, it must've been just me because you cannot guarantee a beta, technical preview, or similarly release sort of a software to, qualitatively be as reliable, stable, secure, and otherwise flawless to an official release, but even then, the OS or program in question (in this case Win2K16) can still be unstable, unreliable or otherwise contain flaws.


Also, Windows Server 2016 may become more intresting when it is actually released (not the tech. previews), because features may be added and/or removed over the period of the preview and the RTM
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  • LeeTheENTP
  • Level 45
  • Master Button Pusher
  • October 3, 2015, 9:55 am
Disabling telemetry data collection is already a feature of Windows 10 Enterprise. That coupled with the fact that collecting telemetry data from a server is nonsensical leads me to believe Sever 2016 will not include data collection.
  • Dr_Steve
  • Level 36
  • Artisan Robot
  • October 3, 2015, 10:36 am
I actually did not know that disabling telemetry data collection is a such feature, and I also really would disbelieve that it would be such feature in Server 2016.   Also, now I know why there were files/folders in my hard drive that had the word "Telemetry" in it.

Also, I did not know that it would not collect such data if turned off; I thought it would still collect data despite that

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