IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FOR OUR READERS!
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Hello again! Allen Sudbring here, PFE in the central region, bringing you some news on Nano server and an update to the blog post I did back in the Windows Server Technical Preview time frame on configuring and deploying Nano Server, located here (link: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/askpfeplat/2016/04/26/deploying-and-configuring-windows-nano-server-2016-tp4/). This massive blog post covered everything from management to deployment as both a virtual machine on Hyper-V and VMWare and on bare metal hardware.
A lot has changed since my initial post. Windows Server 2016 went GA and we announced a new Semi-Annual Channel branch to Windows Server that saw the first release named Windows Server 1709. With this new version, also comes a major change to Nano Server. Nano Server going forward will no longer be a host operating system available in a virtual machine or on physical hardware.
Nano server will be a container image only for use with Windows Containers and Docker. Containers are a new technology, similar to Virtualization, that containerizes an application for portability and resilience.
We originally announced these changes in a blog post in June, 2017, and have formally announced these changes at the following links:
Changes to Nano Server in Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel
More info on Windows Containers and Docker:
As a result of Nano being optimized for containers, the image that is used is much smaller than the version that shipped with Windows Server 2016, as you can see from the screenshot below:
The 2016 version (Tagged latest) is over 1GB, the 1709 version is 312MB.
I encourage everyone to check out Windows Containers as well as our new guidance on the Semi-Annual Channel for Windows and how this affects Nano Server:
Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel overview