Worth upgrading Hyper-V to 2016 from 2012 R2?


Jan 11, 2009
I run a small home server with Hyper-V 2012 R2. No issues, but was wondering if it's worth upgrading to 2016 since I have the license. I don't use any enterprise features, just running about 10-15 guest VMs. Any improvements in performance going to 2016? Thanks.
I've read that the ReFS implementation is better if you're using that on the drive you're using to host Hyper-V machines. I haven't noticed any differences between 2012R2 and 2016 for HV hosting, at least.
Feature improvements if you need them, not much in the way of performance increases.
As a standalone server and basic Hyper-V you wont see much different aside from some basic things:
  • Hot add memory and network adapters to VMs
  • DDA - Passthrough PCI devices to VMs
  • Rebalancing Storage Spaces
On the more advanced side, there are some cool features that are interesting to play with in a lab:
  • NanoServer (good to reduce total memory used on the physical Hyper-V server)
  • Containers
  • Storage Spaces Direct - virtual SAN
  • Shielded VMs
I upgraded my servers to play with the new stuff, but if you are just using it for basic Hyper-V you wont really notice any real difference.
i take it nano isn't a form of windows containers or is it? (vs a more standard linux containers)
Nano server is treated like an install type, so you have three options:
  • Nano - No real UI of any kind at physical console (think VMWare ESXi type screen on the console). Manageable by powershell, but not all commands supported. Limited to only the following roles & features: Hyper-V, File Server, DNS, IIS, Containers, Cluster Services, I'm probably missing 1 or 2 here
  • Core - No GUI elements installed, but still has all roles and features
  • Desktop - All features plus GUI
Nano server is interesting to play with, but is very different to work with. It's designed for very advanced and pointed uses and provide very little overhead and attack vector. I had it running on my hosts at home for awhile, but went back to Core install mainly for NFS support. Nano is also really meant to be deployed through orchestration or automation, as you have to generate an image for each install as opposed to installing the OS to disk or generate an image that links back to provisioning tools.

Also, another oddity with Server 2016 is that you can no longer install and uninstall the GUI as a feature. You choose Core or Desktop off the install media and that's what you get from then on.