There isn't a firm release date for Windows Server 2016 — it's actually still in technical preview — but the majority of the 300 IT professionals that Austin, Texas-based Spiceworks surveyed plan to adopt it within two years of its launch.

Or to be specific, 17 percent of the IT pros surveyed in the Spiceworks community said they plan to adopt the new OS within the first year after launch. Another 44 percent plan to adopt the OS within two years. Within three years after the launch, 57 percent expect to have adopted it.

That's actually quite good for an OS release — and it could get even better.

The numbers may increase when a firm release date is set and the finalized features are released, according to Peter Tsai, IT analyst at Spiceworks. That's how it usually happens with a Windows OS release.

EOL Upgrade

But Windows Server 2016 isn't just any upgrade. It is the next major server out of the gate following the EOL or end of life maintenance and support of Windows Server 2003. And it is close enough to the EOL for other products, too, for companies to decide to make the leap.

So, sorry all you product engineers at Microsoft, but those sexy new features in Windows Server 2016 that you have worked so hard to develop are not the main selling point.

Simply put, the No. 1 driver of Windows Server 2016 adoption will be the end of support for Windows 2003, Tsai told CMSWire.

This is hardly a shocker to Microsoft, or Spiceworks for that matter.

In separate report, the 2016 Spiceworks State of IT, respondents told the company that technology EOL will be the number one purchase driver in 2016.

In addition, 32 percent of IT pros who've allocated budget to OS upgrades in 2016 said their top OS initiative is Windows Server 2003 migration.

What was surprising, though, was what did appeal to the IT executives, once the EOL issue was off the table.

Nothing Too Advanced, Please

You would think that with the advance press and just general sex appeal about these products, IT users would be most excited about Windows Server Nano and support for containers and Docker specifically.

But no. According to the survey, respondents are more excited the new Hyper-V functionality (31 percent) and PowerShell 5.0 (20 percent).

Peter Tsai
It's understandable, Tsai explained.

"In general, virtualization has become very popular and IT pros are embracing it because it runs more efficiently." And specifically, PowerShell is a timesaving tool and for IT pros that are universally time-strapped anything that allows them to be more efficient in their jobs will garner interest, he said.

As for Hyper-V, Tsai said, it has been playing catch up with its feature set, forcing IT shops to pay for an upgrade if they wanted access to the new functionality.

"In Windows Server 2016 the new Hyper-V is included at no additional cost, giving users features that they might otherwise had to pay for," he said.

The containers and Windows Server nano engine are intriguing, but as with all new technology most IT shops take a few years for a learning curve after it is introduced. Especially if the IT department is cash strapped, which it almost certainly is, Tsai said. "They always are."