The release of any new Microsoft server operating system is always an important milestone for the entire computer industry. Windows Server 2016 is no exception. For many organizations, upgrading to Windows Server 2016 will be a trigger event that defines how they deploy infrastructure today and in the future, ranging from data centers to remote and branch offices (ROBOs) and to the cloud.
The implications of converged systems as a deployment model for IT infrastructure are profound. Windows Server 2016 is designed to fully embrace convergence, with wide ranging enhancements to compute, networking and storage virtualization—along with systems management—that facilitate the path to the software-defined data center (SDDC) and enable organizations to seamlessly leverage cloud models.
By embracing the SDDC and the cloud in Windows Server 2016, Microsoft has made it simpler and more cost efficient for IT professionals to leverage converged systems in supporting small and remote offices, whether they deliver IT services locally, from a centralized data center or from a private, public or hybrid cloud. The benefits of converged systems for ROBOs in Windows 2016 environments include:
Enhanced agility: Converged infrastructures enable IT to deploy infrastructure more quickly to support the needs of ROBOs, as well as targeted teams such as software developers. With Windows Server 2016, IT teams can automate and secure ROBO infrastructure from a centralized location using a converged solution, and extend the infrastructure to the cloud on demand when needed. For more flexibility, IT teams can locally deploy a converged infrastructure, a hyperconverged infrastructure or a modular infrastructure solution that is designed to meet the specific requirements of small businesses and branch offices.
Simpler IT: One of the important benefits of converged solutions is that they simplify the processes involved in deploying, maintaining and scaling IT. IT teams can use a unified management platform to orchestrate and automate functions across compute, networking and storage. One of the enhancements in Windows Server 2016 that simplifies IT management for ROBOs is a toolset called Server management tools, which allows IT to manage Windows servers wherever they are, whether physical or virtual machines on premises or VMs hosted in the cloud.
Software-defined architectures: Converged infrastructures already leverage software-defined models, so many of the enhancements Microsoft has developed for Windows Server 2016 are well-suited for such infrastructures. An example is Storage Spaces Direct, a new feature that enables IT teams to build highly available storage systems using local storage. IT teams can support ROBOs by working with Dell EMC, so they can leverage converged infrastructure models rather than trying do-it-yourself approaches that can be complex and time-consuming to manage, particularly where there may not be properly trained local IT personnel on site.
A future-proofed infrastructure: In some ways, Microsoft Windows 2016 is following the path already blazed by companies that have developed the converged and hyperconverged infrastructure market, particularly Dell EMC. The design concepts around Microsoft Windows 2016 are built on the same foundation as the converged infrastructure model, specifically:
Building a software-defined foundation
Automating and securing the infrastructure
Having the capability to expand the infrastructure to the cloud
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The Microsoft model, in fact, is quite similar to the Dell EMC Future-Ready Enterprise model, which is based on converged and tightly integrated infrastructure that is:
Big data optimized
The release of Windows Server 2016 is, in many ways, an affirmation of the converged infrastructure model pioneered by Dell EMC because it embraces all of its key concepts, including virtualization as well as automation and orchestration across compute, networks and storage to support the evolution to a software-defined data center.
As IT decision-makers consider migrating to Windows Server 2016, one of the benefits to keep in mind is the ability to use Windows Server 2016 in combination with converged infrastructures to deliver IT services to ROBOs more efficiently. Advantages include simpler IT, enhanced agility and a future-proofed model that offers the flexibility to leverage infrastructure resources on premises, from a centralized data center or from the cloud.