Windows Server 2016 Editions Comparison


Windows Server 2016 Editions Comparison

Microsoft is known, among other things, for continuously raising the bar for efficiency in information management. Its signature product, the Microsoft Windows Server, is one such product that has helped corporations manage server operations efficiently over the years.

In September 2016, Microsoft launched the latest edition that was developed keeping in mind the needs of Windows 10 users. The product is available for licensing under three different arrangements, or editions, called Essentials, Standard and Datacenter. The previous version of Microsoft Server 2012 had a fourth edition called Foundation which has been discontinued in the current offering.

Uses and Applications

Each of the three editions of Microsoft Server 2016 has been designed for a unique set of applications. The Essentials edition has been made to be used by small businesses that have a limited scale of operations and minimal IT needs. This edition can be managed even without a full-fledged IT department within the organization. A single MCSA 70 740 qualified professional is capable of managing such a system.

The Standard edition caters to the IT needs of mid-sized companies and even some large companies that do not rely on IT as their core service or delivery model. These companies mainly need a limited number of standard applications and some degree of virtualization as part of their daily operations.

The Datacenter edition offers a wider set of applications and helps large companies manage complex IT needs and heavy workloads along with multiple levels of virtualization. You may have to hire an MCSE 70 741 or 70 742 qualified professional to manage this edition.


In server terminology, virtualization refers to the potential for creating virtual editions of the server or network so that users can simultaneously work on the real and virtual environments. The whole point is to maximize productivity by making resources more widely available.

With the Essentials edition, you can either opt for a single physical installation or a single virtual installation. Microsoft does not offer both options with the Essentials edition.

In the Standard edition, Microsoft allows clients to add up to two virtual machines, also called hyper-containers to enhance the delivery of IT services to their staff and customers. Finally, the Datacenter edition offers maximum virtualization rights to the clients by allowing them to add any number of virtual machines to the server.

Licensing Systems

The licensing systems for each edition vary according to Microsoft’s policies. The Essentials edition is licensed to clients under a CPU-based licensing system. Under this system, the license fee and the number of licenses depending on the number of users who will be using the system.

This is generally measured as the number of CPUs or devices that will be connected to the system. This the Essentials edition is generally for smaller companies, this licensing arrangement is more financially viable for smaller clients.

The Standard and Data centered editions are licensed under a core-based licensing system. This means that the fee paid by the client depends on the quality of deployed physical cores on a host server. The license fee increases as the number of physical cores deployed to a host server increases.

It does not matter whether a particular software has been installed over a virtual or physical host; the main criterion is the number of physical cores. At least 4 cores need to be deployed for either of these editions.

Technical Capacity

Technical capacity like RAM and CPU limits are vital aspects of any server arrangement for a company. Microsoft offers some level of differentiation between its three editions of Microsoft Server 2016 but even that is quite limited.

For the Essentials editions, Microsoft Server 2016 offers a maximum RAM capacity of 64 GB which is sufficient keeping in mind the needs of smaller businesses. However, for the Standard and Datacenter editions, this goes up to 24 TB which is a huge leap and basically covers all the needs that a medium or large business may expect from its IT resources.

Coming to the CPU limit, the Essentials edition only allows 2 CPUs to be connected to the server, again suggesting that this package is suited for very small businesses or home-based workers. However, the Standard and Datacenter editions offer a maximum of 512 cores that can be offered to the company by Microsoft. Remember, the minimum requirement for a license is 4 cores, so this again offers a vast range for companies.

 System Requirements

Regardless of the specific edition that is being licensed, all clients are required to have the following minimum system requirements to run the Microsoft Server 2016 efficiently.

  • X64 CPU configuration
  • 1.4 GHz clock rate of the CPU
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 32 GB disk space
  • An Ethernet

These requirements are fairly simple and are usually held by the majority of small and large companies. This makes the Microsoft Server 2016 technically feasible for companies operating at either end of the spectrum.

In order to hire an IT professional who is well-versed in these systems, it is important to screen them on the basis of the MCSA certification offered by Microsoft.

Each of these exams is of 2 hours duration and comprises a variety of simulation, MCQ and theoretical questions. There are no experience requirements for the 70400 exam, but some professional background is expected before taking the other two exams. The exam fee for each edition is approximately USD 165 and a variety of online training materials are available for students attempting any of these courses.

The Essentials, Standard and Datacenter editions of Microsoft Server 2016 offer excellent IT resources for companies of all sizes looking to manage their IT resources efficiently. While it is important to continuously expand these resources, Microsoft offers a convenient and reliable pathway for growing from a small scale organization to a large one, managing physical and virtual machines with equal ease and dexterit

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