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Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 3 now available, here’s what’s new

Last week, screenshots leaked of Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 3, and now, the latest preview version is officially available to download. Of course, being a Technical Preview, this particular build is not ready for full-time use as there are still bugs that need fixing.

As for what’s new in this build, Microsoft put a lot of emphasis on software-defined networking, claiming that the “majority of what you’ll find for networking is new in TP3”. The company continues:

“We bring a scalable network controller for programming policies, an L4 load balancer for high availability and performance, enhanced gateways for hybrid connectivity, and an underlying network fabric that converges RDMA traffic together with tenant traffic. In this milestone, you’ll experience a first preview of how the core set of networking capabilities and SDN architecture we use in Azure is coming to you.”

Additionally, Microsoft is laying the foundations of new Hyper-V technology in TP3 that it build upon in future preview builds of Windows Server. “Shielded VMs” play a large role here where they can now be created from a signed template, in addition to other functionality.

“You can also leverage our security enhancements for shared environments by managing Shielded VMs and guarded hosts with ease. On the storage front, you will find improved functionality to maintain desired end-to-end quality of service (QoS) and faster retrieval of data using storage tiers. In Operations Manager, our focus is to enhance user experience through easy discoverability of management packs and ability to automate maintenance windows using PowerShell.”

Along with the release of Windows Server 2016 TP3 is System Center 2016 TP3, where Microsoft has included a host of feature enhancements that include new management capability such as Virtual Machine Manager and support for Nano server among others.

“…you can install Nano Server on a physical host, or in a virtual machine. The new Emergency Management Console enables users to view and fix networking configuration directly from the Nano Server console. In addition, you will find a PowerShell script for creating an Azure VM running Nano Server. From an application perspective, you can now run an ASP.Net v5 application using CoreCLR. Overall, we’ve added significant functionality to expand Nano Server’s capabilities without compromising the basic premise that its footprint remains as small as possible.”

It doesn’t end there, the software giant has also released new Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows 10 Client. This enables remote management of Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012.

If you’re interested, download Windows Server 2016 TP3 and System Center 2016 TP3 and give them a try. Windows Server 2016 isn’t due to be finalized till 2016 so there’s still a long way to go, a lot of improvements to be made and features to be implemented.

Microsoft warns that since this is still pre-release software, features and functionality may change by the time the final product is released, which is to be expected. Let us know what your thoughts are on the new Technical Preview of Windows Server 2016 in the comments section below.

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What are your thoughts on the new Technical Preview 3 of Windows Server 2016?