Where's the love for Windows Server 2016? Survey tells all

A recent survey shows that almost half of IT pros state that they have no plans to adopt it or that they don't know if they will adopt it or not. Ouch. Where's the love for Windows Server 2016?
Written by Ken Hess, Contributor

Spiceworks has released a set of survey results focusing on how IT professionals plan on handling the move to Windows Server 2016. More than 300 professionals who are part of the Spiceworks community responded to the survey. Forty-three percent either have no plans to adopt or don't know when they will adopt the new server operating system. Right now, Windows Server 2016 is available as Technical Preview 4 on MSDN subscriptions.

For those who are adopting Windows Server 2016, when released, here are the top five reasons why:

  • New Hyper-V functionality - 31 percent
  • PowerShell 5.0 - 20 percent
  • Enhanced security features - 19 percent
  • New software-defined storage capabilities - 18 percent
  • New software-defined networking capabilities - 13 percent

I understand the fascination with Hyper-V and its new functionality including VM resiliency, rolling cluster updates, hot add for memory and network adapters. I also understand some of the PowerShell 5.0 features -- my favorite being that you can send PowerShell commands from the host to a VM. But, enhanced security features -- I'm not convinced that it's any different than most of Microsoft's other "security enhancements" like User Account Control and Internet Explorer Enhanced Security that Administrators always turn off because they're so damn annoying. As for the software-defined enhancements, I'd like to be the first to say, "It's about time."

I'll allow you to draw your own conclusions from the following graphic that defines how soon enterprises will adopt Microsoft's newest server offering. My favorite is the four percent who said "As soon as it's available." Yeah, have your resume polished up and ready to email when you deploy it "as soon as it's available" onto production systems.


With so many organizations hanging on to older operating systems, I doubt that Windows Server 2016 will see much love in the first three to four years of its existence. There are just too many choices right now: Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2, and soon 2016. And then 2016 R2. Maybe Windows Server 2020 will convince IT pros to adopt sooner rather than later, but I suspect not.

I think there's just too many operating systems available and, as you can see from the survey graphic showing Windows Server 2003 deployments, IT departments just aren't willing to rush into the next thing from Microsoft.

For example, when I open my MSDN subscription's downloads home page, I see several different versions of the same product, such as:

SQL Server 2012 with SP3
SQL Server 2014 with SP1
SQL Server 2016 CTP3.1

Two versions of Office including Office 2016 for the Mac (I'm afraid to try it)

Multiple versions of Windows 10
Multiple versions of Windows 8.x

Multiple versions of Visual Studio

A few versions of Windows Server 2012

There are so many versions of currently supported applications and suites that one hardly knows what to do. So, it's no wonder, to me anyway, that IT pros are confused about moving to Windows Server 2016, when a lot of them still have Windows Server 2003 and various Windows Server 2008 versions humming away. I'm sure that a lot of them haven't converted to Windows Server 2012 yet. To be honest, I haven't seen a single production Windows Server 2012 edition where I work yet. And I'm pretty sure that I won't for a while.

IT professionals love new operating systems, new applications, and new technology. But you know what they don't love? Outages, incompatibilities, and all the issues that follow deploying a new operating system. I can tell you that, from personal experience, there was a lot of pain and anguish associated with deploying Windows Server 2008 R2 surrounding some of the "security enhancements" included in that deployment. Windows Server 2003 works and until it completely breaks; it's still good. And some companies like it so much that they're paying for continued support from Microsoft for it.

So, perhaps instead of creating more and more operating systems and versions for us to sweat, maybe you could just keeping enhancing the ones you have that are good.

For example, take Windows Server 2003 R2 and add your "security enhancements" and optional (unnecessary) fancy interface, Hyper-V updates, and take away the year number. Just call it Windows Server and differentiate it with update numbers, such as R3, R4, and so on.

So, where's the love for Windows Server 2016? Look at the penetration numbers from the survey link. The love is in your other operating systems. Windows Server 2012 penetration is roughly half of Windows Server 2008 and still less than Windows Server 2003.

Are you getting the impression that we just don't need another operating system yet?

I think it's time for Microsoft to re-evaluate what it does and how often it does it.

What do you think? What are your plans for Windows Server 2016? How much of each OS, percentage-wise are you running in your data centers? Talk back and let us know.

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