In late September, more than 23,000 Microsoft users gathered in Atlanta to attend Microsoft Ignite, and over five days the company made dozens of significant product announcements. Previously, we covered some of the exciting news around SharePoint and Office 365, but the announcements didn’t stop there. This post covers some of the game-changing infrastructure releases announced at the event—and there were definitely a few that had our team buzzing. Windows Server 2016. One of the biggest pieces of news coming out of Ignite 2016 overall was the launch of Windows Server 2016. Touted as a cloud ready OS, Windows Server 2016 works for users not working in the cloud and introduces technology to securely and efficiently transition them to the cloud. The uptime, scalability and reliability of Windows Server 2016 is incredible, and it delivers powerful innovation in its advanced multi-layer security, software-defined datacenter, and cloud-ready application platform. This is huge for Microsoft, as they’ve left nothing out in terms of capabilities, so moving to Windows Server 2016 should be an easy decision for all types of customers. System Center 2016. Another important announcement made at Ignite was the launch of Microsoft System Center 2016. This latest release of Microsoft’s datacenter management solution, which includes new capabilities for Microsoft Operations Management Suite, expands options for cloud-based management and security—great news for existing customers, who can take advantage of the improvements in this iteration. Systems Center 2016 expands data center management capabilities, streamlines performance and workflows, and drives greater Linux support. It also enables users to perform a rolling upgrade for cluster nodes without stopping workloads and increases monitoring capabilities through easy discoverability of management packs, alert tuning and scheduled maintenance windows. Systems Center 2016 also integrates with Operations Management Suite for ease of management across a hybrid cloud, which brings us to the next big announcement. Operations Management Suite. What I think may have been the biggest single piece of news coming out of Ignite, was around the extended set of services for Operations Management Suite (OMS). Previously siloed, OMS is now integrated beautifully into System Center 2016 for a unified approach to core management. A number of releases for OMS were announced concerning Insight & Analytics, Automation & Control, Security & Compliance, and Protection & Recovery, building out an incredibly robust feature set for OMS. And to provide access to these technologies, Microsoft also unveiled expanded licensing options for hybrid and cloud environments, making it more accessible to all users. This allows customers to license OMS while still maintaining legacy rights to System Center. OMS changes the equation particularly for new customers who can now deploy OMS without System Center and still get the insights, updates and patches pulled out to their servers, making this significant and exciting news. Azure Stack Technical Preview 2. To many attendees’ delight, the announcement of the second technical preview of Azure Stack, Microsoft’s hybrid cloud platform product was made at Ignite. While the final product won’t be released until 2017, it’s available to install on a single server to explore and prepare for Azure services in your datacenter. Azure Stack TP2 is loaded with new infrastructure management technologies and features for both tenants and administrators. New features include Azure Queue storage support, which will help manage application messaging, Azure Key Vault support, which adds cryptographic protection for data stored in datacenters, iDNS, which provides internal network name registration and DNS resolution without additional DNS infrastructure, and Virtual network gateways, which provide VPN connectivity options to Azure or on-premises resources. Truly, the list of features is too great to tackle here, but is something to look forward to when it’s fully released next year. Docker Engine into Windows Server 2016. A sign of Microsoft’s continuing efforts to incorporate Linux into its roadmap and keep Azure open, Microsoft announced the commercial version of the Docker Engine into Windows Server 2016. Despite Docker Engine being open source, it is now fully supported on Windows Server 2016 and will run on Windows. This announcement, like many of the announcements at Ignite, show a commitment to the cloud and a willingness to disrupt the status quo. While many of these products aren’t available yet, Ignite certainly built anticipation for seeing them come to market. Next, we’ll round up the most intriguing announcements around security coming out of Ignite.