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Next Windows Server Rumored To Include 'Nano Server'

Microsoft's next Windows Server may include a new "Nano Server" element, according to reports.

The reports, such as this Neowin story, point to a Russian Web site as the source of the information, which shows slides marked "Microsoft Conference." These purportedly "leaked" slides aren't too clear about what the Nano Server might be, although it's described as the "nucleus of next-gen cloud infrastructure and applications" in the next Windows Server product.

Apparently, Nano Server will be a smaller option to use than the Server Core option that currently exists in Microsoft's flagship Windows Server 2012 R2 product. Organizations deploying the Server Core get the security benefit of having a smaller server "footprint," which reduces the surface exposed to potential attackers. Nano Server is described as "a new headless deployment option for Windows Server" as part of a "zero-footprint model."

Server roles and optional features are described as living outside of Nano Server. Organizations will update Nano Server with "standalone packages that install like apps," according to the slides. IT pros will use something called "Core PowerShell" and "WMI" (Windows Management Instrumentation) to remotely manage Nano Server. Visual Studio 2015 will be one dev tool that can be used to "target" Nano Server.

There will be some deployment options. It will be possible to use Nano Server on a host operating system, a guest OS or a container OS, according to the slides.

Supposedly, using the Nano Server option will reduce the number of "critical" and "important" security bulletins that need to be applied, compared with Server Core. In addition, the number of reboots will be reduced compared with Server Core, according to the slides.

The leaked slides described the Nano Server as a Windows Server option that will have a focus on cloud OS infrastructure, a focus on cloud apps (PaaS v2 and ASP.NET Next) and a focus on container technologies.

So far, that's a lot more than Microsoft has revealed about its next Windows Server product. Last month, Microsoft Distinguished Engineer Jeffrey Snover talked about the next Windows Server as being deeply refactored for cloud scenarios. He said it would have two application profiles, with APIs for the existing Windows Server and APIs that are cloud optimized. However, beyond those details, his talk didn't reveal much.

Possibly, Microsoft's Technology Adoption Program testers already have access to the Nano Server feature since the slides suggested it will be available "early in 2015" to those testers. Nano Server won't be part of the first Windows Server preview release, but it will appear in the subsequent preview release, according to the slides.

Microsoft's next Windows Server product is still at an early stage. A technical preview of the next Windows Server appeared back in October. Microsoft has indicated that product availability is planned for sometime in 2016.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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