Windows Server Overview

Windows Server is the #2 ranked solution in our list of top Operating Systems for Business. It is most often compared to Windows 10: Windows Server vs Windows 10

What is Windows Server?

Windows Server 2016 is the most cloud-ready server Microsoft has ever built and includes a lot of technology that was inspired from our experience in the public cloud. It has big improvements in security, software-defined infrastructure and technologies to help developers build modern microservice-based applications, in the cloud or on-site. 

Windows Server Buyer's Guide

Download the Windows Server Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: July 2021

Windows Server Customers

Rakuten, Rackspace, Tyco

Windows Server Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Windows Server pricing:
  • "One must pay for a license for the solution."

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HB
Software Engineer at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Easy to use, simple to set up, and scales well

What is our primary use case?

We have the product that my team works on and we need to, for example, deploy the solution on running servers. That way, the client can access it and the QAs in our team could test it. Also, we have some database servers other than the Windows Server. We use it for servers - indicators for better pages for better performance. We create the databases actually.

Pros and Cons

  • "The scalability it offers is great."
  • "Sometimes we face some overload on the server."

What other advice do I have?

We are just a customer and an end-user. We have servers deployed within the company's headquarters right here in Tunis which we use for internal purposes. For other clients, it's deployed in other data centers, and they have access to them from our company. I'd recommend this solution to other companies and users. There are some clients that require this particular server and there are some older solutions that require deployment on a Windows Server. That said, we've moved to .net code to support both Microsoft and Linux. I'd rate the solution at an eight out of ten.
TM
Systems Engineer at a educational organization with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Quick and easy to deploy and offers very good integration of Microsoft products

What is our primary use case?

The solution is mainly used if you have a lot of solutions that integrate with Microsoft products. The usage varies. It depends on what you want to do with it. If you want to use it for integrating for web services or integrating for OS with some of your net applications, or your C-Sharp type of environments, then Windows is your go-to.

Pros and Cons

  • "Within 10 or 15 minutes, you can build a single Windows Server and put it on production."
  • "The solution needs to be more stable and secure."

What other advice do I have?

We use various versions of the product. Right now, for example, it's a mix between the 2015 and 2019 versions. Users need to be aware that they need to manage the solution properly. It could be pretty unsafe if you don't manage it properly. I wouldn't outright recommend the solution per se. It depends on what you want to achieve or if you have the knowledge of what you want to do. I would only recommend it if you have to integrate it with other Microsoft products. There are other server platform products that are much more secure and better than Windows. That said, if you are integrating into…
Learn what your peers think about Windows Server. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: July 2021.
521,817 professionals have used our research since 2012.
KH
Data Solution Architect at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Good user interface and technical support, and Active Directory is very helpful for us

What is our primary use case?

We use Windows Server to host all of our Windows-specific applications, such as Active Directory. We also use it for our systems that are running Microsoft SQL Server, since it used to be dependent on Windows. That is no longer necessary because we have an option to run it on Linux, as well. Our infrastructure includes systems from Microsoft, Linux, and IBM.

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is Active Directory."
  • "Better integration with more platforms would be useful."

What other advice do I have?

This is quite a good product and one that I recommend. I wouldn't recommend anything that does not integrate well with remote working tools, as most people are now working remotely. We are able to manage our systems from home. Overall, deployment is quite straightforward, the technical support is quite good, and we are happy with the product. That said, nothing is perfect. I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.
MY
IT at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Easy to use, stable and with good performance for the running of OS applications

What is our primary use case?

A couple of years ago we migrated from the 2008 to the 2012 version and we are currently in the process of trying to migrate our applications to that of 2019. We use Windows 10 for OS. We're researching z/OS, which is actually Linux based, to see how well it works with Windows applications. When it comes to the SQL server, we have separate application and database servers, the latter which is also on Windows Server 2012. This means that we have a couple of applications in which we hosted in IIS and Windows Server 2012. Consequently, we have quite a collection of Windows 2012 that are currently… more »

Pros and Cons

  • "We like the ease of use, stability and performance of Windows Server."
  • "As I have already paid for a license, I should have the option of requesting the containerized functionality from the OS to reduce the Windows Server OS footprint."

What other advice do I have?

The number of users utilizing the solution averages slightly north of 500, since this is the application we use in running all our key activities. Each member of our organization's staff requires access to the solution for carrying out several functions, be it in respect of the application or of the need to log into the system as a consequence of this being where the employee management system is located. I would definitely recommend the solution to others.
SK
Founder at a non-profit with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 5
Integrates well with application, stable, and PowerShell only installation beneficial

What is our primary use case?

We are using this solution as a server operating system.

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is this solution integrates very well with all Microsoft and all other mainstream software solutions and the design is very good. Windows has an option now allowing you to just install the Windows Core with the PowerShell without any graphical services running."
  • "I used to like the graphical interface and graphical philosophy in previous versions of Windows Server. I am not able to be as fast and efficient as I used to be using a graphical interface. However, Windows has moved to the PowerShell, it is powerful, but is still limited compared to what we do can do in Linux. Linux was built at the beginning of the command line interfaces which is why they have a very powerful command line."

What other advice do I have?

I recently started using my Windows 10 with the Linux Subsystem for Windows, to install and administer all my Linux servers worldwide. I can run a DBM on the Linux Subsystem for Windows, Ubuntu, or Kali Linux, and can access my servers worldwide. Having Linux Subsystem running inside Windows 10, I have been enjoying using the operating system much more. I cannot install a virtual machine inside the Subsystems which I do very easily on any Linux distribution. Additionally, after installing a virtual machine on Linux, the virtual machine will be more powerful than the Linux Subsystem for…
LG
System Architect at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Reseller
Good active directory, offers consistently evolving features, and very stable

What is our primary use case?

Most of the time we use it for user account access. We also deploy Microsoft on machines that must run on Windows. Beyond that, we use it for the remote desktop, and obviously for its mobile Microsoft features.

Pros and Cons

  • "The active directory that the server provides is the solution's most valuable aspect."
  • "The solution could offer higher availability."

What other advice do I have?

We handle both on-prem and cloud deployments. We're in IT services, so we often sell these solutions to our clients. We use the Windows Server ourselves as well. I'd recommend the solution. It works well, however, users still have to understand Windows and the Windows interface in order to use it correctly. I'd rate the solution eight out of ten.
hugodpereira
Computer engineering student at a educational organization with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Straightforward with good stability and an easy initial setup

What is our primary use case?

I primarily use the solution for college assignments. We are using it just to learn how to configure all the options that Windows Server provides for the active directory and basically all the necessary configurations. It's for enterprise infrastructure, so to speak. We are mainly focusing on group policy and remote authentication, the main controller, and all the functionalities that a Windows server provides through the access directory.

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution, in general, is quite straightforward. A beginner could probably use it with ease. It's always more or less simple to understand how this works."
  • "We are finding some of the configurations inside the group policy not very straightforward. We had some difficulties, for example, just trying to figure out how to configure and how to block the usage of MP3 files, and so on."

What other advice do I have?

I'm not really a customer. I'm just a student learning the ins and outs of the product itself. We are using in virtual machines the Windows Server 2019. I'd recommend this solution. It's quite complete. For a company that wants all the necessary components to administer their infrastructure and so forth, it's quite good. Overall, I would rate the solution eight out of ten. If they offered better documentation that wasn't as dated I might rate it higher.
PR
Platform Manager at a insurance company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Easy to use, stable, and scalable

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for a variety of tasks including active directory servers, exchange servers, hosting applications, running insurance apps, and SQL databases. A whole gamut of things.

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution is very easy to use and very easy to onboard."
  • "It requires a lot of monthly maintenance in terms of vulnerability management, which is the downside."

What other advice do I have?

We are customers and end-users. While the deployment models we use are mostly on-premises, we do sometimes use cloud deployment as well. We use a variety of versions of the solution, including 2019, 2016, and 2012. We actually use a lot of 2012. I'd rate the solution at a seven out of ten. It's a step up from older versions. I'd recommend the solution to other companies. However, it depends on the use case. If you were hosting SQL or Exchange server, certainly. However, in other circumstances, if it was between this and Red Hat Linux, you might choose Red Hat Linux.
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Buyer's Guide
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