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Opinion Question

Windows Server 2019 Standard or 2016

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Last Modified: 2020-09-07
I have a server running Windows Server 2016 Standard as the hyper visor for two VMs, one an RDS running Windows Server 2016 Standard and the other running Windows Essentials.

It has been this way for around two years with no issues. I have to wipe the server and install the hyper-v again and restore the same VMs. I still have the install for 2016, but I also have an install for Windows Server 2019. Maybe this is a dumb question, but is it better to upgrade and get the benefits of having a longer time to EOL, etc. or are the VMs more compatible with 2016 or just having the same GUI interfaces for everything.

Thanks for any opinion.
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/Storage
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Commented:
Things will run smoother with Server 2019.

The update process in Server 2019 is fixed. It's way better.

There are additional virtualization features in Server 2019 that could be of benefit.

We always deploy the most current version of an OS unless there's a specific need by an app vendor for something else.
LearnctxEngineer
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Commented:
For your use case scenario, I can't see any reason to upgrade from Server 2016 to Server 2019 at this point in time. Server 2016 still has a long time left in support. Server 2019 provides feature enhancements, particularly if you're heavily invested in Azure and Azure AD. To the enterprise market Server 2019 is introducing many enhancements, but again they're relatively minor in the grand scheme of things. In your case it sounds like you would be upgrading for the sake of upgrading. If you were building a new server I would say install Server 2019, otherwise hold on 2016.
Hello ThereSystem Administrator
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Commented:
Go to the latest version. WS2019 is stable, it has been with us for some time and possible issues have been resolved as well as bugs from the WS2016 version. Also, WS2019 supports features that other Windows releases don't.

However, if you plan to upgrade, don't do it and rather stay with Windows Server 2016. Go to Windows Server 2019 only if you perform a clean installation.
DrDave242Principal Support Engineer
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Commented:
I still have the install for 2016, but I also have an install for Windows Server 2019.

Does this mean you have a valid Server 2019 license or just the install media? If you've got the license, you may as well use it; there's no sense in buying it and not doing anything with it, and there's no app-compatibility risk at all if it's only going to be your virtualization host for now. On the other hand, if you've got install media for 2019 but only have a license for 2016, stick with 2016 unless you want to fork over some cash.

Author

Commented:
I have 16 Server 2019 licenses but only one Essentials. So far the T430 is rejecting 2019.
DrDave242Principal Support Engineer
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Commented:
Rejecting it in what way? 2019 Standard and Datacenter are fully supported on the T430, according to Dell's support matrix, which can be found at the first link on this page:

https://www.dell.com/support/contents/en-us/article/product-support/self-support-knowledgebase/enterprise-resource-center/server-operating-system-support 

Author

Commented:
I believe you. And, I believe Dell support when he says it can. It's just the BIOS that continues to say the OS it is looking for does not match with the one that provided. There is a place where it has a dropdown of all the server OS it works with and 2016 is the earliest one. I have installed this on a client machine, so it should.
Marc Lester MartinIT Specialist
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Commented:
You haven't mentioned about your backup system. Make sure that it's compatible with WS2019 specially if it's a host-based backup.
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Author

Commented:
Backup system is Veeam. They are pretty sure they can replicate and failover.

Lifecycle controller. Issues with iDrac -- wow Dell is into that. Tried to boot to it but it needed the add-in drivers update in the boot media. Dell did that. It is installed as the hypervisor. He still is trying to fix the iDrac.

Not OS - dependent everything Dell is doing is documented for 2019 upgrade. I actually wish I had used 2016. So, we were able to boot to the media as you said, but only after following the steps four hours...He is calling in 10 minutes.

Author

Commented:
As an intro, I am going to spell out what has happened with Dell:

To the best of my knowledge, here is what has happened with my server. It started with a phone call to Dell about a fan, which ran constantly and loud. It was the only server of five that made any noise most of the time. It became an issue about iDrac’s IP address and iDrac in general. During this, I was instructed to unplug the power, hold the start button for 30 seconds, then plug the power back in. This, after two or three times, left the root with wanting the Bitlocker key. I had a text document on a QNAP (I couldn’t find the printout). All 10 notepad text files showed their ID and key. The user ID for the server was there also, but the key was missing. So, a no go on unlocking the server. At which point, on day two of the process, we got the iDrac to work somewhat to upload an update package to provide drivers, but not of these attempts worked, And, I mean from 6 pm to 11 pm. Finally, we installed the OS by adding what was needed to boot to 2019. We did this, but I believe Dell installed the OS to the wrong drive, there by missing the SSD. I wonder if at the point of Custom Install vs Upgrade if the key could have been found. The OS and VMs were there. We installed 2019 with a clean install. Now, the goal was to download and upload firmware and drivers for the Device Manager. This was 5 pm until midnight with multiple trips to the server to do God knows what. We decided to stop, and he was to go to his team leader for help. Today we worked on it in between patients. While using the iDrac (I was told something happened on Sunday with the mobo and TPM to cause the bitlocker issue. My job was to move the NVRAM from two pins to two other pins for 15 seconds and back. This took forever, because the diagram he had was completely different than my motherboard. Anyway, I did it. So, back to iDrac and issues with booting Windows, which he fixed. We then tried to download and upload the drivers needed, but it kept failing. This was now day 4 of the fan fix. I was told it needed a new motherboard, and given it was after 5 pm, it would be here on day 6 (Friday) to be installed for my Next Day service. Then supposedly, wala, a new person, which may be good, will be able to install the drivers. But the server can then be installed to the RAID 1, rather than the RAID 10.
Meanwhile VEEAM waits in the background to replicate the backup we restored to another area on the backup server. I have been running the business on that. When the hypervisor is ready, they will replicate, then failover to the production server. Meanwhile everything is working well except the Electronic Medical Record, our most needed program. It errors and crashes after a few attempts at everything, so now I have over 60 visits on paper I still have to manually enter. I am praying that this motherboard fix happens on Friday and I am not told I must wait until Monday. I know it was after 5 pm, but I don’t get the shipping and IT guy coming out on Friday afternoon.
It has been a nightmare, and the IT guy is a nice guy, but I feel the case should have been elevated two days ago. I am sure I have this wrong at some point.

At this point, I would rather try to install 2016, but I can't find the install, and it has gone from the Action Pack.


Author

Commented:
I get the Microsoft Action Pack (I know hard to believe given how stupid I am). 2016 is no longer there. Is there a place where they put archives? Or inexpensive 2016 purchaces?

Author

Commented:
So, I found my 2016. Wouldn't 2016 have all the drivers that were needed? Shouldn't I just install from Windows Server 2016 Standard?

Author

Commented:
I don't know who to give it to. Turns out there was an issue with the motherboard, and once a new one was flown out and installed, everything ran fine. I was able to boot from the USB prior, but for reasons only Dell knows, it had to have a new board. 
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