Comparison of Windows Server 2016 Standard edition and Datacenter edition

Are your customers looking for a server solution that can help them safeguard their business, improve their IT efficiency, productivity, and agility, and help them get ready for the cloud? Windows Server 2016 can help with all of these, and more!Windows Server logo.png

Safeguard business: Windows Server 2016 technologies have protections built-in to help safeguard data across devices and apps, onsite or in the cloud, and help customers recover from business disruptions.

Improve IT efficiency, productivity, and agility: To help deliver increased efficiency and maximize IT investments, Windows Server 2016 gives your customers the business tools of a much larger company, at the right price.

Ready for the cloud: Whether your customers are moving to the cloud now or in the future, they can get the best of both worlds with Microsoft technologies that are designed for hybrid cloud IT environments.

Today, we will look at the similarities and differences of two Windows Server 2016 editions: Standard edition and Datacenter edition to help you determine which is the best choice for your customers' server solutions.

For businesses that need advanced features, support for distributed office locations, and a flexible way to virtualize their environment, Windows Server 2016 Standard edition is a great option. For your customers who have demanding IT workloads, require advanced storage, virtualization, and application deployment, Windows Server 2016 Datacenter edition is an ideal choice.

New Features
With the release of the latest version of Windows Server, many new features were introduced. New features in Windows Server 2016 Standard edition include Nano Server and unlimited Windows Server containers. There are also several new features that are exclusive to the Datacenter edition including Shielded Virtual Machines, software-defined networking, Storage Spaces Direct, and Storage Replica.

Virtual Operating System Environment (OSE) Rights
While both Windows Server 2016 Standard edition and Datacenter edition provide rights for virtual instances of Operating System Environments (OSEs), the number of rights varies between the two editions. Windows Server 2016 Standard edition provides rights for up to two virtual instances of the OSEs when all physical cores in the server are licensed. For every two additional OSEs, all the cores on the server must be licensed again. In comparison, Windows Server 2016 Datacenter provides rights to unlimited virtual OSEs when all physical cores on the server are licensed.

Client Access Licenses (CALs)
Both Windows Server 2016 Standard and Datacenter editions require a Windows Server user or device CAL for each user or device that accesses or uses the server software. For servers running Remote Desktop Services, separate Remote Desktop Service (RDS) CALs are required to access the services.
Learn more about Windows Server CALs

Downgrade and Down-Edition Rights
Windows Server 2016 Standard and Datacenter editions include the right to downgrade the software to use prior versions—such as Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2012—or lower editions—Windows Server 2016 Datacenter edition to Windows Server 2016 Standard edition.
Learn more about Windows Server downgrades and down-editions

Hewlett Packard Enterprise + Microsoft
Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Microsoft bring together the world's leading server hardware and software innovations, applications, resources, and support. While HPE sells Microsoft OEM licenses in a number of ways, the HPE OEM Microsoft Reseller Option Kit (ROK) license was developed to ensure customers purchase the right HPE Servers with the right Microsoft Windows Server editions. Through HPE reseller partners, ROK delivers value pricing, flexible choices, one-stop ordering, and single source support to help customers be more productive, achieve more with their investment, and keep their business running smoothly.


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Willa manages the HPE | Microsoft Coffee Coaching program. Follow along to learn more about the latest HPE OEM Microsoft product releases and how the HPE Microsoft partnership can benefit partners and customers.