Is Windows Nano Server a data center game-changer?

Windows 10 might be getting all the attention, but Microsoft’s new Nano Server could start a quiet revolution in server rooms across the globe.

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  • Windows Nano Server is a project that was previously codenamed Tuva (although kudos to Microsoft for breaking the trend of having very cool codenames that turn into incredibly drab actual released product names) and is designed to be Windows without the GUI or legacy baggage. It’s different than Server Core, the GUI-less installation option introduced in Windows Server 2008, because Windows Nano Server strips out basically every part of Windows that is designed to ever service the GUI or a GUI oriented application.

    For now, Windows Nano Server is designed to work in the cloud. But it’s to envision a deployment of a variety of Nano Server virtual machines running custom applications within containers like Docker that just get moved over the wire nearly instantaneously between Azure regions and your corporate datacenter. Especially since the footprint of these virtual machines from a storage perspective is almost a tenth of what it’s in big Windows Server images today.

    Your developers and operations team can work even more closely together and use container technology to package applications and well configured versions of Nano Server together so that your applications just work, i.e., the whole platform works as one. For web applications and hardened infrastructure roles that could be served with the likes of an appliance, Windows Nano Server could be an intriguing choice come next year when it’s expected to be released alongside Windows Server 2016.

    But perhaps more interestingly, and certainly from a longer-term perspective, Windows Nano Server represents the future of Windows: a future where there is clean break from the necessities to support past applications and legacy code, a future where Windows can work remotely in a very lightweight, scalable, supportable way.

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  • Windows Nano Server is a project that was previously codenamed Tuva (although kudos to Microsoft for breaking the trend of having very cool codenames that turn into incredibly drab actual released product names) and is designed to be Windows without the GUI or legacy baggage. It’s different than Server Core, the GUI-less installation option introduced in Windows Server 2008, because Windows Nano Server strips out basically every part of Windows that is designed to ever service the GUI or a GUI oriented application.

    For now, Windows Nano Server is designed to work in the cloud. But it’s to envision a deployment of a variety of Nano Server virtual machines running custom applications within containers like Docker that just get moved over the wire nearly instantaneously between Azure regions and your corporate datacenter. Especially since the footprint of these virtual machines from a storage perspective is almost a tenth of what it’s in big Windows Server images today.

    Your developers and operations team can work even more closely together and use container technology to package applications and well configured versions of Nano Server together so that your applications just work, i.e., the whole platform works as one. For web applications and hardened infrastructure roles that could be served with the likes of an appliance, Windows Nano Server could be an intriguing choice come next year when it’s expected to be released alongside Windows Server 2016.

    But perhaps more interestingly, and certainly from a longer-term perspective, Windows Nano Server represents the future of Windows: a future where there is clean break from the necessities to support past applications and legacy code, a future where Windows can work remotely in a very lightweight, scalable, supportable way.

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