Which Edition of Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Matches Your Customers' IT Needs?

Your customers may be asking how they can take advantage of the growing number of hybrid cloud solutions to benefit their business. Microsoft Windows Server 2016, running on the complete portfolio of HPE Servers, storage, and networking options, offers enterprise-class security, scalability, and performance, combining the peace of mind found in on-premises, traditional IT, with the flexibility of cloud enablement. You have probably already heard, we are very excited about the recent launch of HPE OEM Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Standard and Datacenter editions and are even more enthusiastic about all of the benefits your customers can receive from these licensing options.

**To learn more about the HPE OEM launch and how HPE OEM Microsoft Windows Server 2016 can benefit your customers, check out our recent blogs: “HPE OEM Microsoft Windows Server 2016 now available” and, “Why HPE OEM Microsoft Windows Server 2016”.


Today, we want to teach you a bit about the different editions of Windows Server 2016 that are available so you can choose the best edition for your customers’ specific needs. When considering HPE OEM Microsoft Windows Server 2016 for your customers’ IT environments, you will choose from three primary editions of Windows Server 20161 based on the size of your customer’s organization, their virtualization needs, and their datacenter requirements.


For customers with immense virtualization needs, Datacenter edition is a great option as it includes unlimited virtualization rights. This edition is ideal for companies of all sizes that have demanding IT workloads, require advanced storage, virtualization, and application deployment. Windows Server 2016 Datacenter edition offers customers lots of great options and features:

  • Unlimited users/devices- based on CALs
  • Unlimited VMs
  • Unlimited Hyper-V containers
  • Unlimited Windows Server Containers
  • Storage features including: Storage Replica & Storage Spaces Direct
  • New Networking Stack
  • Shielded VMs and Host Guardian Service


For your SMB customers that need advanced features, support for distributed office locations, and require a flexible way to virtualize their environment, Standard edition is a great choice. To summarize Windows Server 2016 Standard edition, customers get:  

  • Unlimited users/devices- based on CALs
  • 2 VMs
  • 2 Hyper-V containers (Windows Server 2016 entitles up to 2 VMs or 2 Hyper-V containers)
  • Unlimited Windows Server containers


Last but not least (even though it is a great option for small businesses), if your customers are looking for a cloud connected first server, Essentials edition is ideal. This edition is great for small businesses with up to 25 users and 50 devices and is a good option for customers currently using the Foundation edition of a previous Windows Server version. Here’s the run-down on Essentials edition:  

  • 25 users/50 devices—no server CALs required
  • 1 physical or virtual instance (one physical or one virtual + Hyper-V)
  • Must be root of domain
  • For servers with 1 or 2 processors only


Windows Server 2016 Standard and Datacenter editions offer several features and functionalities not available in previous editions of Windows Server. Keep this chart handy when speaking with your customers about the benefits of Windows Server 2016 Standard and Datacenter.  

WS2012- WS2012 R2- WS2016 comparison chart.jpg


Be sure to keep an eye out for future Coffee Coaching blogs in which we will cover the new core licensing structure introduced with Windows Server 2016 Standard and Datacenter (and a helpful HPE tool to help you calculate how many licenses you need), as well as CALs, more information on HPE OEM Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Essentials edition, and HPE ProLiant pairings for each edition of Windows Server 2016.


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About the Author


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.