Exploring Nano Server for Windows Server 2016

If you haven’t yet tried Windows Server 2016, today we hope to give you a few more reasons to try out our latest technical preview. On this week’s Microsoft Mechanics show, we feature updates to Nano Server with Jeffrey Snover, Chief Architect, Enterprise Cloud.

Nano Server is the new headless deployment option for Windows Server 2016. As a deeply refactored version of Windows Server, it’s designed to give you the lightest and fastest server OS configuration with fewer patch and update events, faster restarts, better resource utilization and tighter security.

To explain further, today’s show enumerates the key differences between our various server instantiations: notably, the server with desktop experience, Server Core and Nano Server, which sans 32-bit support (WOW64), the graphic stack, Remote Desktop and local logon is at least 25 times smaller.

While offering a deliberately small initial footprint, Jeffrey demonstrates for the first time how easy it is to customize Nano Server, by sourcing packages from repositories either on a local path or from the cloud.

The future of the datacenter

In response to increased needs for higher density and more efficient OS resource utilization, Nano Server is foundational to the modern datacenter and is useful in two core scenarios: As a private cloud infrastructure it’s particularly useful for clustered Hyper-V, clustered storage and core networking services scenarios; or as an application platform it’s highly optimized for modern distributed and cloud-based apps which leverage containers and micro service architectures. Ultimately, Nano Server is designed to ensure that more resources are freed up to run apps and services.

The advantages of Nano Server, as evidenced by the latest build stats shared on the show, include significantly lower resource consumption, greater agility and speed with exceptionally fast set-up times (40 seconds versus 19 minutes for server with a desktop experience).

All management is performed remotely via PowerShell and WMI, with remote management options via existing tools and a new web-based remote management tool. Further, offline management can be achieved via the new Nano Server Recovery Console, which gives you a local interface with a simplified UI, all of which you can see for yourself in Jeffrey’s final demo.

We hope that you enjoy today’s demo-rich overview. Also be sure to check out Nano Server running a Hyper-V container as demonstrated recently by Mark Russinovich on Microsoft Mechanics.