Microsoft will phase in the 2016 exams in March or April 2016, depending on the release date of upcoming server operating system, Windows Server 2016. The final release date for the server is expected to be in early 2016.  The first early preview version (Technical Preview) became available on 1 October 2014 together with the first technical preview of System Center, and is currently in public beta testing. 

Features of Windows Server 2016:

  • Active Directory Federation Services: possible to configure AD FS to authenticate users stored in non-AD directories, such as X.500 compliant Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) directories and SQL databases
  • Windows Defender: Windows Server Antimalware is installed and enabled by default without the GUI, which is an installable Windows feature.
    Remote Desktop Services: support for OpenGL 4.4 and OpenCL 1.1, performance and stability improvements; MultiPoint Services role
  • Storage Services: central Storage QoS Policies; Storage Replicas (storage-agnostic, block-level, volume-based, synchronous and asynchronous replication using SMB3 between servers for disaster recovery). Storage Replica replicates blocks instead of files; files can be in use. It’s not multi-master, not one-to-many and not transitive. It periodically replicates snapshots, and the replication direction can be changed.
    Failover Clustering: cluster operating system rolling upgrade, Storage Replicas
  • Web Application Proxy: preauthentication for HTTP Basic application publishing, wildcard domain publishing of applications, HTTP to HTTPS redirection, Propagation of client IP address to backend applications
  • IIS 10: Support for HTTP/2
  • Windows PowerShell 5.0
  • Soft Restart, a Windows feature to speed up the booting process by skipping hardware initialization, and resetting software only.
    Telnet server is not included.
    New or changed Networking Features
  • DHCP: as Network Access Protection was deprecated in Windows Server 2012 R2, in Window Server 2016 the DHCP role no longer supports NAP
  • DNS:
    DNS client: service binding – enhanced support for computers with more than one network interface
  • DNS Server: DNS policies, new DDS record types (TLSA, SPF, and unknown records), new PowerShell cmdlets and parameters
  • Windows Server Gateway now supports Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE) tunnels
  • IP address management (IPAM): support for /31, /32, and /128 subnets; discovery of file-based, domain-joined DNS servers; new DNS functions; better integration of DNS, DHCP, and IP Address (DDI) Management[15]
    Network Controller, a new server role to configure, manage, monitor, and troubleshoot virtual and physical network devices and services in the datacenter
  • Hyper-V Network Virtualization: programmable Hyper-V switch (a new building block of Microsoft’s software-defined networking solution); VXLAN encapsulation support; Microsoft Software Load Balancer interoperability; better IEEE Ethernet standard compliancy
  • New Hyper-V Features

Rolling Hyper-V cluster update: unlike upgrading clusters from Windows 2008 R2 to 2012 level, Windows Server Technical Preview cluster nodes can be added to a Hyper-V Cluster with nodes running Windows Server 2012 R2. The cluster continues to function at a Windows Server 2012 R2 feature level until all of the nodes in the cluster have been upgraded and the cluster functional level has been upgraded.
Storage quality of service (QoS) to centrally monitor end-to-end storage performance and create policies using Hyper-V and Scale-Out File Servers
New, more efficient binary virtual machine configuration format (.VMCX extension for virtual machine configuration data and the .VMRS extension for runtime state data)
Production checkpoints
Hyper-V Manager: alternate credentials support, down-level management, WS-Management protocol
Integration services for Windows guests distributed through Windows Update
Hot add and remove for network adapters (for generation 2 virtual machines) and memory (for generation 1 and generation 2 virtual machines)
Linux secure boot
Connected Standby compatibility
Nano Server
Microsoft announced a new installation option, codenamed Nano Server, a minimal footprint installation option of Windows Server, optimized for Windows Server Containers and Hyper-V Containers, as well as other cloud-optimized scenarios. According to the announcement, Microsoft removed the GUI stack, 32-bit support (WoW64), MSI and a number of default Server Core components. There is no local logon or Remote Desktop support. All management is performed remotely via WMI and PowerShell. Based on builds current at the time of the announcement (April 2015), Nano Server had 93 percent lower VHD size, 92 percent fewer critical bulletins, and 80 percent fewer reboots than Windows Server.

Microsoft has been reorganized by Satya Nadella, putting the Server and System Center teams together (previously, the Server team was more closely aligned with the Windows client team). The Azure team is also working closely with the Server team in an internal open source model.

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