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Hyper-V 2016 Editions and System Requirements

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Microsoft’s Hyper-V has made huge strides towards becoming a market leader. The latest version, Hyper-V 2016, is the most fully featured and capable product offering in the virtualization arena from Microsoft. New configuration maximums, as well as built-in cloud DNA, make the hypervisor a strong competitor for any enterprise virtualization platform.

Let’s take a look at Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V in general as well as the process to get the Hyper-V role installed and initially configured.

Hyper-V is classified as a Type 1 hypervisor, which means that the platform runs on the “bare metal” of the physical hardware. Even though Hyper-V can be installed as a role in Windows Server 2016, the hypervisor instantiates first in the boot order – loading even before the Windows Server operating system (OS). Thus, Windows Server essentially runs on the Hyper-V platform once the latter is installed as a server role.

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Hyper-V and Windows Server Editions

This addresses some common questions from those getting started with Hyper-V. When should you use the Hyper-V 2016 download as opposed to enabling the Hyper-V role service in Windows Server? What are the limitations? What are the differences between the three versions of Windows Server 2016?

The Hyper-V 2016 download is intended primarily for VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) and Linux workloads that don’t need the Windows Server guest licenses. In other words, you don’t get Windows guest licenses “included” as you would with the Standard and Datacenter editions of Windows Server.

Windows Server 2016 Standard includes only two VMs running Windows Server that cannot be moved between hosts. Thus, for most virtual environments, the Standard edition is insufficient – except for testing purposes, or if there are only a couple of workloads that need to be virtualized

Windows Server 2016 Datacenter includes an unlimited number of licenses for Windows Server virtual machines. The Datacenter edition has several features that are missing in Hyper-V 2016 and Windows Server 2016 Standard edition: storage replicas, Storage Spaces Direct (S2D), network virtualization stack (HNVv2), as well support for shielded VMs, among others.

The Windows Server 2016 Essentials edition is designed to support small businesses with fewer than 25 users and 50 devices. Hyper-V can be installed as a server role in Windows Server 2016 Essentials. You can have a physical instance of Windows Server 2016 Essentials installed with the same copy of Windows Server 2016 Essentials running as a VM. This is really only done for the manageability of a VM rather than a physical host.

System Requirements

To run the Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V role or Hyper-V 2016, your hardware must meet the following requirements:

    • 64-bit processor that is capable of SLAT (second-level address translation). This is a requirement introduced along with the 2016 edition. In previous versions, this was recommended, but you could still proceed with the installation if your processor did not support this feature.
    • VM Monitor Mode Extensions
    • Virtualization enabled in firmware
  • Processor virtualization support – Intel VT or AMD-V technology

To check if your infrastructure meets the proper Hyper-V 2016 hardware and CPU technology requirements, you can run the systeminfo.exe utility from the command line. At the bottom of the output, after the system specifications are displayed, the compatibility test for Hyper-V is run. Make sure your intended host is suitable by checking for test failures. A failure would be indicated by a No, such as the one highlighted below.


This blog post is the first in a series on how to use Microsoft’s Windows Server 2016 and Hyper-V for virtualization. We start with the basics, then progress to more advanced tasks and functionalities. Next, we explore Windows Server licensing: how the licensing model works and what changes were introduced in 2016.

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Hyper-V 2016 Editions and System Requirements
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