How to be succesfull with Nano Server

One of my (previous) customers contacted me this weekend… He installed Nano Server and wasn’t able to get a website running on it.
To be clear: I think that Micrsosoft has been clearly stating the current use-cases of Nano Server.
Jeffrey Snover did a great talk at the last DuPSUG meeting where he basically did a ‘Ask Jeffrey’ session where we were allowed to ask questions… any question was allowed 🙂
He was able to answer all of them. Some (most) with direct answers, some with conceptual replies.
So naturally Nano Server was mentioned in several of the questions 🙂

Nano Server:
A Server operating system reduced to it’s primary components. What does a server need to be a server, and nothing more?
For starters, you don’t need a GUI. You have Windows PowerShell Remoting, Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration… and most importantly: Remote Server Administration Tools!
This would mean that all of those gigabytes of binaries don’t need to be included in the operating system.
If you want to install a role on Nano Server, you simply deploy a package as you would deploy any other package… which will install the role with its appropriate binaries.
So a Web-Server will only have the binaries of the Web-Server, not of Clustering or AD.
This will save lots and lots of storage!

Becoming successful with Nano Server
Note that the Nano Server that will become available in the next version of Windows Server will be a ‘v1’.
With this release, Microsoft will focus on a thing defined as Cloud Infrastructure, which involves just two Windows Server roles: Hyper-V & Clustered File Server.
Once they’ve successfully implemented that, and solved any child-illnesses, they will expand on the roles offered in Nano Server.
I would imagine two would be high up their list: Active Directory (Domain Controllers) and Web-Server.
Why I think this? Those are the servers, from a hosting perspective, I think would best benefit from a Nano.
Let’s name that a ‘v2’.

My hopes for the future…
My personal hopes, and expectation, involve Microsoft making all roles currently offered on Windows Server available on Nano Server… with one exception: Remote Desktop Services.
Well, not entirely.
For a RDS server you need a GUI, right? But do you need a GUI for a RDS broker? 😉

The conclusion
With the upcoming release of Nano Server, there are two scenarios where you can be successful with this technology: Hyper-V & Clustered File Server.

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