Nano Server: Some Technical Insights

Mar 3 12:24 2016 Rossy Guide Print This Article

What is Nano Server?

Nano Server is a pared down headless version of Windows Server that is API compatible. It is not a new server and it is Windows Server. It is fully compatible with all the components included and there just aren't as many of them."

Why Using Nano Server?

  • Nano is a further evolution of Server Core in many ways. This installation option gives you a server with only a command-line interface has been around since Windows 2008.
  • In Windows Server 2012,Guest Posting the ability to remove the GUI from a full installation to turn an already installed OS into Server Core improved its appeal.
  • By Windows Server 2012 R2, almost every role that can be installed on Windows Server is available on Core.
  • Nano will be an install-time option. If you want the full server, you have to format and reinstall; there’s no way to “upgrade” from Nano to Server Core/GUI.
  • Nano will only have the following two roles to play when it’s released in 2016:
  • As an infrastructure server (Hyper-V hosts/clusters and Scale-Out File Server)
  • As an application platform for “born-in-the-cloud” applications.
  • Microsoft does say that the future of Windows Server is Nano, and more roles will be added going forward.
  • And in contrast to Core, Nano doesn’t come with any roles built in. You have to add the roles/features.

No local login:

Microsoft's strategy is to offer two different container modes:

  • Windows Server Containers
  • Hyper-V Containers

Nano is completely headless. There’s no way to log on locally at all. You have to manage the server remotely using Server Manager, PowerShell DSC on the “Ibiza” Azure portal framework. The Azure-flavored, web-based interface offers WAN-friendly remote replacements for tools such as Task Manager, Registry Editor, Event Viewer, Device Manager, Control Panel, Performance Monitor, Disk Management, and User/Group Management.

The version of PowerShell that runs on Nano is called “Core PowerShell” because it runs on the .NET framework called CoreCLR. CoreCLR is Lean, Composable, Open Source, and Cross-platform.

Nano is forcing Microsoft to make sure that all their management tools will work remotely. New setup and boot event logging functionality gathers ETL logs on a remote server that you configure through BCD Edit. So they’re not available in TP2, VMM, OM, Azure Operations Insight, and DSC Local Configuration Manager.

Born-in-the-cloud platform:

Microsoft puts forwards the following two core scenarios for Nano Server:

  • Server Cloud infrastructure services
  • Born-in-the-cloud applications

Any server application written for Nano will run on both Nano and Server Core. The “born-in-the-cloud application platform” part becomes clear when you see what Nano can run or be managed by:

  • Chef
  • PHP
  • Nginx
  • Python 3.5
  • js
  • GO
  • Redis
  • MySQL
  • OpenSSL
  • Java (OpenJDK)
  • Ruby (2.1.5)
  • SQLite

And Not Nano in Performance:

Nano is to give you a very small and fast OS where you install just the bits and it is installed is about 410 MB, compared to more than 6 GB for Core; this much smaller image leads to faster deploy and boot times. The following figure shows how to do add packages to Nano server.

So Everyone Try Nano Server:

Nano makes perfect sense and competes nicely with Linux; Amazon, Google, and others all run on flavors of Linux. For Nano to really work well, Microsoft is going to have to step up the “certified for Windows Server” hardware certification program.

Where you can find more information about Nano Server?

You can learn more about the upcoming Windows Nano Server at the Windows Server Blog. In addition, Microsoft will be releasing more information about Nano Server at BUILD and Ignite.

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Rossy Guide
Rossy Guide

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