Nano, Core or Standard? That is the question.

Hello Folks,

Since I came back from Microsoft Ignite in Chicago, I’ve had numerous conversations with ITPros regarding some of the announcements. One of the announcements that I thought was pretty clear turned out to be confusing to some. Nano Server. What is it exactly? Is it a new SKU, is it OEM? I’ve heard all of those questions.

Jeffrey Snover explained the Server Journey in a really understandable way in a recording that was done for TechDays Online 2015 (the UK edition).

What is Nano Server?

In a nutshell, Nano server is a new installation option for Windows Server vNext that will provides the smallest possible footprint for Windows Server. This footprint will be significantly smaller than Server Core. How can they do that? you ask… This is possible by refactoring of the OS.

It is designed for fewer patch and update events, faster restarts, better resource utilization and tighter security. Nano Server focuses on two scenarios:

  1. Born-in-the-cloud applications – support for multiple programming languages and runtimes. (e.g. C#, Java, Node.js, Python, etc.) running in containers, virtual machines, or on physical servers.
  2. Microsoft Cloud Platform infrastructure – support for compute clusters running Hyper-V and storage clusters running Scale-out File Server.

With Nano server you’ll be able to install only the parts you require and nothing more. Based on the current builds, compared to Server, Nano Server has:

  • 93% lower VHD size
  • 92% fewer critical bulletins
  • 80% fewer reboots

In order to achieve these numbers, we removed the following components from that OS Deployment option:

  • GUI stack
  • 32 bit support (WOW64)
  • MSI
  • and a number of default Server Core components.

you cannot logon locally or use Remote Desktop to manage a Nano server. All management is performed remotely via WMI and PowerShell. We are also adding Windows Server Roles and Features using Features on Demand and DISM. We are improving remote manageability via PowerShell with Desired State Configuration as well as remote file transfer, remote script authoring and remote debugging. We are working on a set of new Web-based management tools to replace local inbox management tools.

Nano Server will works seamlessly in a DevOps continuous deployment and management workflow.

To find out more about it. I recommend the following Ignite sessions:

I really hope I answered some of your questions.



Pierre Roman