OK — What is this Nano Server in Windows Server 2016?

A lot of people are talking about Nano Server inside Windows Server 2016. But what is it really? And why should we care?

What is this Nano Server in Windows Server 2016?

Nano is a prefix that means small, really small. Maybe even microscopic small. So that means we know right away Nano Server is very small version of Windows Server 2016. But wait, didn’t we already have that with Windows Server 2012 Core. Nano Server is a nice GUI-less version of the server technology.

+ Also on Network World: Is Windows Nano Server a data center game-changer? +

Nano makes Server Core look bloated and massive. Don’t believe me? Let’s looks at some numbers.

The full GUI Server version of Windows Server has required the following:

  • 11 reboots, 23 patches, 34 ports open and a VHD size of 10.4 GB

How about the GUI-less Server Core version?

  • 6 reboots, 8 patches, 26 ports open and a VHD size of 6.5 GB

Nano Server?

  • 3 reboots, 2 patches, 11 ports open and a VHD size of .41 GB!

How can this small size actually be accomplished? It is completely headless, and if you want to add functionality, you do this through the insertion of packages. Hmmm, this sounds a little bit like a Linux approach to me. No coincidence I suppose.

Think about how trim this is for Windows, and it is pretty amazing. There is no Winlogon, there is no 32-bit support, there is no RDP, there are no roles and features because those come through packages as I just described. Amazing really.

Microsoft makes it clear. Nano is ideal for purpose-built apps, apps that are to be born in the cloud. It will also be ideal for providing sleek infrastructure services, and maybe even super-efficient Hyper-V clusters.

Are you anxious to try this amazing server now? Download the latest Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview (we are version 5) from Microsoft. There is a NanoServer directory on the ISO you download; inside you find a NanoServerImageGenerator folder. You create your Nano Server using PowerShell commands.

I hope you found this post informative. Thank you for reading!

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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