As Microsoft prepares for Windows Server vNext, due next year, it also has a new, tiny footprint server in the works specifically for the cloud and designed to reduce problems with the standard server version.
According to slides leaked by WZor, Microsoft is developing a headless deployment version of the server software called Nano Server. Nano Server is being designed as a next-gen cloud OS and infrastructure.
In the slides, the company notes customers have complained about issues like having to reboot their systems every time they install patches, oftentimes patching components they don't even use. Reboots take a long time and are very disruptive.
Nano Server would be for cloud infrastructure and would only run "born-in-the-cloud apps" like PaaSv2 and ASP.NET V.next. The idea is for Nano Server to have a zero footprint model, with apps and optional features living outside of the platform.
It also comes with Core PowerShell, which is accessible from anywhere, so admins won't have to sit in front of a server to access remote management or automation via PowerShell and WMI. There's quite a bit of PowerShell in Nano Server, including full PS language compatibility, full remoting, most core engine components, and support for cmdlets written C#, PowerShell, and CIM.
While Nano Server is headless, remote management will still have a lot of web-based local management tools, including Task Manager, Registry Editor, Event Viewer, File Explorer, Performance Monitor, and more. Windows SDK and Visual Studio 2015 will target Nano Server and it will offer full remote debugging.
Because it will be so small, it will have much faster deployment and startup, and with its smaller footprint it will take up fewer resources than a full server. It will be more secure since there is a smaller attack surface, and it will offer higher density for container-based apps and micro-services, Microsoft claims.
Microsoft said Nano Server will be a part of the next release of Windows Server and there will be a limited TAP preview early this year, but it will not be a part of the next Windows Server preview.