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The third technical preview of Windows Server 2016 has arrived

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August 20, 2015

Well it's now here: the third technical preview of Windows Server 2016 has arrived on our shores and with it, Microsoft takes another step forward into the very hyped world of cloud native computing.

But most importantly, this new server OS gives us our first look at Windows Server Containers, which were palpably absent from the previous build that shipped in May 2015.

To be sure, in October of last year, Microsoft did revealed to us that the next version of Windows Server would include support for containers when it announced a collaboration with Docker to enable the same tools to manage them on both Windows and Linux.

According to a blog post yesterday from Microsoft's Mike Neil, this first preview of new container technology has already made good on that partnership.

"Windows Server Containers are now part of the Docker open source project," Neil wrote. "These containers can be deployed and managed either using PowerShell or the Docker client itself."

But like anything else, it's important to note that these are only the standard Windows Server Containers that run in 'sandboxes' directly on the host operating system.

A second technology that increases security by wrapping containers in Hyper-V virtual machines will also be available in Windows Server 2016, but we won't get a look at that until a future preview.

And like the earlier preview, this release also includes a new build of Nano Server, Microsoft's take on micro-sized, minimal footprint operating systems like CoreOS and Red Hat Atomic Host.

As with those stripped-down versions of Linux, one day you may run Nano Server with only those OS features that you really need and launch all of your workloads on it as containers.

For now, it's still an experimental system that's mainly here for system admins to evaluate and provide some feedback to the software behemoth.

Overall, this second release of Nano Server introduces a new Emergency Management Console that lets you repair networking configuration glitches from within the Nano Server console.

It also includes a PowerShell script for speeding up Nano Server virtual machines on Microsoft's Azure cloud.

You can also run ASP.Net 5 applications on MS Server 2016 using the CoreCLR version of the .Net runtime. It's a bit similar to what's already on Windows Server 2012.

Other new features included in this preview of Windows Server 2016 include an early look at Microsoft's new SDN (software-defined networking) subsystem that enables centralized network configuration and a software load balancer.

There's also some experimental support for "Shielded VMs," which further isolate virtual machines from the underlying host.

A full breakdown of what's new in the release is available on the MS site, and the official release notes can be viewed on it as well.

Source: Microsoft.

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