What is Nano server?

Nano server is a new installation option in Windows Server vNext that provides the lowest possible Windows footprint possible, significantly smaller even than Server Core. This is possible through a significant refactoring of the operating system and is focused around two key scenarios:

  • Born-in-the-cloud applications
  • Cloud platform – Hyper-V and Scale-out File Servers

For other scenarios you would continue to leverage Server Core.

Nano server is selected during Windows install (with the other option being Server Core/Server with a GUI) and the entire GUI stack is removed along with other components. There is no option to RDP or even logon locally to a Nano server deployment. Instead management is done via WMI and PowerShell. Some key metrics comparing Nano Server to a regular Windows Server deployment are:

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