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Windows Server 2016 Essentials vs Windows Server 2016 Standard

Windows Server 2016

What is Windows Server 2016? – Windows Server 2016 is a Microsoft operating system, which became generally available on October 12, 2016. Built primarily for cloud computing users , Windows Server 2016 simplifies the transition of on-premises workloads to the cloud. With its advanced server functionality, you can easily adapt to changing business requirements and build a high-performance, secure, flexible, and affordable production environment.

What editions are available in Windows Server 2016? 

There are three primary editions of Windows Server 2016 which differ in a number of ways:

Datacenter Edition

Standard Edition

Essentials Edition

How has licensing changed? – Windows Server 2016 has adopted core-based licensing instead of processors-based licensing.  This way, you can:

  • License all physical cores in the server
  • License each physical server with a minimum of 16 physical cores
  • License each physical processor with a minimum of 8 physical cores
  • Get access to 2-pack core licenses

The adoption of core-based licensing has introduced a more consistent and unified approach to licensing across environments, allowing support for mixed environments.

What are the new features in Windows Server 2016? – Apart from the core Windows Server functionality, Windows Server 2016 includes the following new and upgraded features:

  • Nano Server
  • Windows Server containers
  • Active Directory Domain Services
  • Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS)
  • Hyper-V containers/Operating System Environments (OSEs)
  • Windows Defender
  • Storage Spaces Direct
  • Storage Replica
  • PowerShell 5.0
  • Shielded Virtual Machines

What are the basic requirements for Windows Server Installation?

The following table showcases the minimum hardware requirements for installing Windows Server 2016, which are equally applicable to all Windows Server 2016 editions:

Processor1.4Ghz 64-bit processor
RAM512 MB (for Windows Server 2016 in Server Core mode)

2 GB (for Windows Server 2016 in a GUI mode)

Disk space32 GB
Network adapter10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
Optical storageDVD drive (when installing the OS from DVD media)
Graphics hardwareSuper VGA (1024 x 768) or higher resolution

Windows Server 2016 Essentials vs Standard

Windows Server 2016 Standard is a full-featured server OS which can be deployed by small or medium-sized organizations to provision physical or minimally virtualized server environments. Windows Server Standard can function as a platform for some server applications such as Exchange Server or SQL Server, which should be purchased separately.

Windows Server 2016 Essentials was previously referred to as a Small Business Server, revealing its main purpose – serving small businesses. Windows Server 2016 Essentials is ideal for small businesses running low production workloads as this edition can serve only up to 25 users and 50 devices. It can be deployed as a first server (for inexperienced users) or a primary server (for building a multi-server environment to be used by SMBs). Windows Server 2016 Essentials delivers a set of advanced features and capabilities to small businesses for a reasonable price, allowing them to achieve more productivity and efficiency. When talking about Windows Server 2016 Essentials, it is worth mentioning that no CAL is required, meaning that you don’t have to worry about complex licensing requirements and the high costs that CAL entails.

Look at the table below to see how Windows Server 2016 Essentials vs Standard compare.

Windows Server 2016 EssentialsWindows Server 2016 Standard
Virtualization rightsZero, 1 physical or 1 virtual installation2 Operating System Environments (OSEs) or 2 Hyper-V Containers
CALsCALs not required (up to 25 users and 50 devices)

Note that an RDS CAL is required if you want to enable Remote Desktop Services

CALs required for every user or device which has a direct/indirect connection to a Windows server
RAM limit64 GB24 TB
CPU limitMaximum 2 CPUs512 Cores

Note that actual customer prices may vary


Note that actual customer prices may vary

Additionally, the Windows Server 2016 Essentials vs Standard editions offer different server roles, as can be seen in the table below.

Server roleWindows Server 2016 EssentialsWindows Server 2016 Standard
Active Directory Services+

Automatically installed

Active Directory Domain Services+

Automatically installed

Fax Server+

Automatically installed

Remote Access+

Automatically installed

Network Policy & Access Services+

Automatically installed

Web Server (IIS)+

Automatically installed

Active Directory Federation Services++
Active Directory  Lightweight Directory Services++
Active Directory Rights Management Services++
Application Server++
DHCP Server++
DNS Server++
Files Services++
Print & Document Services++
Remote Desktop Services+
UDDI Services++
Windows Deployment Services++
Windows Server Update Services+

Note that certain server roles are automatically installed in Windows Server 2016 Essentials. Such server roles should be manually configured in the Windows Server 2016 Standard and Datacenter editions. Apart from that, there might be compatibility issues with certain applications in Windows Server 2016 Essentials (Hyper-V, Data Deduplication, Failover Clustering, and Windows Server Update Services) simply because the required server roles are not included in this edition.

In conclusion new Windows Server 2016 is a better operating system than the previous ones. By bringing the strengths of the cloud system which you can manage yourself, it will change the way how a new server can benefit your work.,you can try both of them placing an order following this link:

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