Microsoft unveils Windows Nano Server

April 9, 2015 | 11:35

Tags: #cloud #data-centre #jeffrey-snover #nano-server #operating-system #windows #windows-10 #windows-nano-server #windows-server

Companies: #microsoft

Microsoft has officially unveiled Windows Nano Server, a 'deeply refactored' operating system which boasts 93 per cent smaller storage requirements and 80 per cent fewer reboots than Windows Server.

Revealed in a leak on a Russian website last month, Windows Nano Server is designed to be as lightweight and compact as possible. 'Nano Server is a deeply refactored version of Windows Server with a small footprint and remotely managed installation, optimised for the cloud and a DevOps workflow,' claimed Microsoft's Jeffrey Snover, Andrew Mason and Alan Back in a joint blog post published yesterday. 'It is designed for fewer patch and update events, faster restarts, better resource utilization and tighter security.'

The result: a claim that, compared to the equivalent Windows Server build, Nano Server offers a 93 per cent reduction in storage requirements, 92 per cent fewer critical security bulletins, and 80 per cent fewer reboots during operation.

Naturally, those benefits come at a cost. 'To achieve these benefits, we removed the GUI stack, 32 bit support (WOW64), MSI and a number of default Server Core components,' the team explained. 'There is no local logon or Remote Desktop support. All management is performed remotely via WMI and PowerShell. We are also adding Windows Server Roles and Features using Features on Demand and DISM.' Despite this, Nano Server remains API-compatible with other Windows Server variants - meaning it should, in theory, be relatively straightforward to port applications across to the platform.

Windows Nano Server won't be for everyone. Microsoft has indicated that it is targeting two prime markets for the new OS: cloud applications, which includes the ability to run multiple languages and runtimes in containers, virtual machines or physical servers; and its own Cloud Platform infrastructure, with support for Hyper-V compute clusters and Scale-out File Server storage clusters. It's in virtualisation where the biggest benefits will be found: with each virtual machine requiring only seven per cent the storage space of previous Windows Server instances and consuming considerably fewer resources while running, the overhead of running a virtualised infrastructure is considerably lessened.

Microsoft has not yet offered a release date or licensing information for Windows Nano Server.
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