Book Image

Getting Started with Nano Server

By : Charbel Nemnom
Book Image

Getting Started with Nano Server

By: Charbel Nemnom

Overview of this book

Nano Server allows developers and operations teams to work closely together and use containers that package applications so that the entire platform works as one. The aim of Nano Server is to help applications run the way they are intended to. It can be used to run and deploy infrastructures (acting as a compute host, storage host, container, or VM guest operating system) without consuming significant resources. Although Nano Server isn't intended to replace Server 2016 or 2012 R2, it will be an attractive choice for developers and IT teams. Want to improve your ability to deploy a new VM and install and deploy container apps within minutes? You have come to the right place! The objective of this book is to get you started with Nano Server successfully. The journey is quite exciting, since we are introducing you to a cutting-edge technology that will revolutionize today's datacenters. We'll cover everything from the basic to advanced topics. You'll discover a lot of added value from using Nano Server, such as hundreds of VM types on a single host through a small footprint, which could be a big plus for you and your company. After reading this book, you will have the necessary skills to start your journey effectively using Nano Server.
Table of Contents (17 chapters)
Title Page
About the Author
About the Reviewers
Customer Feedback

What makes Nano Server unique?

One of the unique capabilities of Nano Server is the ability to be deployed as a massively scaled down version of the server OS. Microsoft dabbled with this idea in Windows Server 2008 when they introduced Server Core, but Nano Servers are substantially smaller than Server Core deployments.

How is this possible?

  • No GUI, no notepad, and no cmd.exe window.
  • The OS has been stripped of everything that is not needed in a cloud environment; in particular the UI stack, the x86 subsystem (WOW64), and unnecessary APIs.
  • Nano Server does not include MSI as an installation technology due to dependencies and the open-ended nature of MSI custom actions. Microsoft introduced the Windows Server App (WSA) instead, which is an installer framework designed to install and service applications safely and reliably, using a declarative manifest. WSA does not support custom actions, so will not have the reliability and uninstall issues of MSI.
  • Minimal packages and features in the base image. The Nano Server team have stripped down this OS to a minimal set of APIs and features. You will probably find some of your utilities missing here, but that's ok because it similarly has another and probably better API that accomplishes the same functionality.

Basically, Microsoft is producing an OS that does not try to support legacy systems. However, the DevOps mindset is far more effective at managing server cattle versus pets, which is an analogy made by Jeffery Snover (Microsoft technical fellow, lead architect for Cloud and Enterprise Group and PowerShell architect).

At this scale, we don't have the time or resources to be accessing our instances via a remote desktop and clicking buttons or dragging windows. If one server becomes sick, we put it out of its misery quickly and replace it and be up and running in a couple of seconds. The idea behind Nano Server is to eliminate the need to sit in front of a server forever. UIs do not belong on servers.

Nano is a lightweight server OS and made to be accessed and managed remotely.