Nano Server

Alongside the core server and "full GUI" server, the Nano Server is another deployment method available for Windows Server 2016. It is described as a "headless" server which is even more streamline than the core server. It only supports remote administration, with WMI or Powershell and does not feature a GUI/console. The Nano Server is not installed in the usual way via the installer, using instead the installation files which are filed in the installation ISO in the Nano Server directory.


The supplied command let New-Nano Server Image.ps1 (part of the Nano Server Image Generator.psm1 PowerShell modules which have to be imported first) allows the mirroring of a Nano Server image.

  • New-NanoServerImage \
    • -MediaPath D:\ISO \
    • -BasePath C:\NanoServer\Base \
    • -TargetPath C:\NanoServer\NanoServer\NanoServer.vhd \
    • -ComputerName NanoServer \
    • -EnableRemoteManagementPort \
    • -Language 'en-us' \
    • -GuestDrivers \
    • -DriversPath C:\NanoServer\VMware-Drivers \
    • -AdministratorPassword (ConvertTo-SecureString -String "Password" -AsPlainText -Force) ;

Another way to set up a Nano Server VHD is with a script available on this website which can however only create generation 2 VMs. 

  • .\New-NanoServerVHD.ps1
    • -ServerISO 'c:\nano\10586.0.15102900.TH2_RELEASE_SERVER_OEMRET_X64FRE_EN-US.ISO' \
    • -DestVHD c:\nano\NanoServer01.vhd \
    • -ComputerName NANOTEST01 \
    • -AdministratorPassword 'P@ssword!1' \
    • -Packages 'Storage','OEM-Drivers','Guest' \
    • -IPAddress '192.168.1.65'

The difference between virtual systems from the first and second generations will be discussed in another article. Nano Servers are designed for use with cloud applications and are specified with the parameter Packages. The following packages are defined in TP 4:

  • Compute: Hyper-V server
  • Storage: Storage server
  • Failover cluster: Failover cluster server
  • Guest: Hyper-V guest tools
  • Containers: Support for Hyper-V and Windows containers
  • DNS: DNS server
  • IIS: Internet Information Server (Web Server)
  • SCVMM: System Center VMM
  • SCVMM compute: System Center VMM Compute

Microsoft provides the following specifications compared to a full server:

93%

93% less VHD (installation) footprint

92%

92% less critical vulnerabilities

80%

80% less reboots

We are curious to find out which services will be available in the final version. MPIO support is now finally integrated in the nano Server in TP4.

Thanks to the reduced process footprint and elimination of the GUI and 32-bit environment (wow64), Nano Server supports more stable operating with considerably less rebooting required (significantly fewer patches and vulnerabilities).

Together with Hyper-V and Hyper-V containers, far more virtual systems can be run on the same platform.

There are diverse management options available despite no console.

Source: http://codedbeard.com/

Remotely Managing Nano Server

Remote Graphical & Web Tools

PowerShell Remoting

VM and Container Management

Deployment & Monitoring

Partners & Frameworks

  • Server Manager
  • Azure Portal tools
  • Task manager
  • Registry editor
  • File explorer
  • Server configuration
  • Event viewer
  • Disk manager
  • Device & driver management
  • Performance
  • Users & groups
  • Core PowerShell engine, language, and cmdlets
  • Windows Server cmdlets (network, storage, etc,)
  • PowerShell DSC
  • Remote file transfer
  • Remote script authoring & debugging
  • PowerShell Web Access
  • Hyper-V Manager
  • Hyper-V cmdlets
  • PowerShell Direct over PSRIP
  • CimSession support
  • Docker
  • SCVMM agent & console
  • 3rd party agents & consoles
  • DISM online & VHD support
  • Unattended setup
  • Visual Studio integration
  • DSC Local Config Manager
  • Setup & boot eventing
  • SCOM agent
  • VSO App Insights
  • Azure Op Insights
  • Chef integration
  • .NET Core and CoreCLR
  • ASP.NET S
  • Python, PHP, Ruby, NodeJs
  • PowerShell Classes
  • PS Script Analyzer
  • PowerShell Gallery
  • PowerShellGet

The latest version (Technical Preview 4) of a Nano Server VHD can be downloaded here

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