What Are Server Roles In Windows Server 2016

What Are Server Roles In Windows Server 2016 Edition Feature Lists

Planning a network design will involve working through a host of components – both hardware and software. The Server Roles form an integral part of this exercise. What are the Server Roles In Windows Server 2016 operating environment and how do they work? That is precisely what we would be undertaking for today’s post.

Server Roles – What Are They?

What Are Server Roles In Windows Server 2016

A Role is ideally a predefined set of features and services that you would specify for a particular function on the server and in your environment. A network is a group of hardware components and software components grouped and used to connect to the devices within or outside the organization and the internet.

The Windows Server 2016 offers you a host of features and functionalities when you install it on your computer. The software components in a Windows Server system are always separated. This will facilitate you in adding up only a few portions of the software. These portions are what we call Roles. Each of these roles will have multiple Role Services.

The Server Roles are specific programs for providing the function of the role. Let us check out a few particular roles and understand their importance.

Network Services Server Roles

These server roles are meant to provide services to the clients on the network. Some of these services include Active Directory, File, Print, DNS, DHCP and Web (IIS).

The Active Directory can be used to store details about the users on the network, computers, and printers. If you are a network administrator, these will be helpful in managing the resources. The DNS Server role is used to map the IP addresses to the logical names. The DNS Server role now supports IPv6 as well.

Another Network Service Server Role is labeled File Services which can be used to manage network file sharing. You may use Distributed File Services to store copies to share folders on multiple servers. A few other network role servers include Active Directory, File, Print, DNS, DHCP and Web (IIS).

Mail Server Role

The Mail Server Role is meant for sending and receiving the email messages over the internet. You need to have access to a mail server for sending mail to each other over the network.

The primary functions that a mail server performs include –

  • Store e-mail data
  • Process client requests
  • Receive incoming e-mail from the Internet

When a Mail Server Role is configured on your system, you will need to install the POP3 and SMTP protocols.

The primary network server roles you would initially need to concentrate on include File, Print, and Web services. Other services of importance include Database Server for running database programs on a dedicated computer. Gateways and Routers are designed to connect two or more logical networks.

What are the Server Roles Available on Windows Server 2016?

While most of the server roles are available on both the Windows Server editions, they differ from the licensing perspective. We are going to compare these editions nonetheless.

Here are the tabulated details for the Server Roles available on Windows Server 2016 –

Windows Server Roles Available Windows Server 2016 Standard Windows Server 2016 Datacentre
Active Directory Certificate Services Yes Yes
Active Directory Domain Services Yes Yes
Active Directory Federation Services Yes Yes
AD Lightweight Directory Services Yes Yes
AD Rights Management Services Yes Yes
Device Health Attestation Yes Yes
DHCP Server Yes Yes
DNS Server Yes Yes
Fax Server Yes Yes
File and Storage Services Yes Yes
BranchCache for Network Files Yes Yes
Data Deduplication Yes Yes
File Server Resource Manager Yes Yes
Host Guardian Service Yes Yes
Hyper-V Yes Yes; including Shielded Virtual Machines
Multipoint Services Yes Yes
Network Controller No Yes
Network Policy and Access Services Yes, if installed with desktop integration Yes, if installed with desktop integration
Print and Document Services Yes Yes
Remote Access Yes Yes
Remote desktop Services Yes Yes
Volume Activation Services Yes Yes
Web Services (IIS) Yes Yes
Windows Deployment Services Yes, if installed with the desktop experience Yes, if installed with the desktop experience
Windows Server Essentials Experience Yes Yes
Windows Server Update Services Yes Yes

The Features and Functionalities of Server Roles in Windows Server 2016

Here is a high-level list of features and functions available on Windows Server 2016. See below:

The primary server roles supported on Windows Server 2016 include

  • Active Directory Certificate Services
  • Active Directory Domain Services
  • Active Directory Federation Services
  • Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS)
  • Active Directory Rights Management Services
  • Device Health Attestation
  • DHCP Server
  • DNS Server
  • File and Storage Services
  • Host Guardian Service
  • Hyper-V
  • Print and Document Services
  • Routing and Remote Access Server
  • Remote Desktop Services Connection Broker
  • Web Server
  • Windows Server Essentials Experience
  • Windows Server Update Services

Here are few essential functionalities that each of the server roles are set to perform on Windows Server 2016 –

  • Active Directory Domain Server role enables controlling and centrally managing the users, groups and other computers on the network
  • The Application Server Role Lets you run high-performance business applications and web services. You will need a .NET framework.
  • The DNS Server is used to provide the internet names or hostnames to the IP addresses
  • The Hyper V Role will let you control and manage virtual machines. This will support both Windows and non-Windows ecosystems.
  • The DHCP Server Role can be used to provide IP Address and other settings to the clients on the network
  • The Web Server Role is designed to host the sites in HTTP, HTTPS, and FTP
  • The File service Server Role is used for sharing files. It will also support DFS, NFS, and SMB
  • The Print Server Role is used for sharing your printer over the network.
  • The terminal Services Role is meant for gaining access to remote servers, services, and application
  • The Group Policy management Server Role will help you administer Group Policy objects. This can be done through Group Policy Management Console
  • Windows Server Backup Server Role will install the Microsoft Management Console.

The Parting Thoughts

Well, those were a few inputs into what a Server Role can in a Windows Server 2016. Please note that we are not going into the complete details for the concept as it would involve a lot of technical information which may not be easy to understand if you do not have any technical background. The purpose of the post has been to initialize you into understanding the concept. Once you have gathered enough knowledge into how the server roles work, you would be able to grasp the matter more finely.

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