It feels like every other week I’m working at a client and we need to run one little extra service or application.  As a result we usually either piggyback this service onto an existing server or build a new server just for the small service or application.  Both options have their disadvantages.

Introducing Windows Server 2016 Nano Server!

Windows 2016 Nano Server is a scaled-down version of Windows Server 2016 that is entirely managed over the network. It’s headless and has no local logon capabilities. It requires less critical patches and uses less memory and disk space than a full blown Windows server.

It is ideal for:

  • Small Web Server
  • DNS Server
  • Hyper-V Compute Node
  • And more!

Why should you be excited about Windows Server 2016 Nano Server?

Most recently I was at a client and we needed to install an additional DNS server to support VPN clients connecting to their hosted Lync environment.  You can read more about the reason here: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/nexthop/2011/11/14/enabling-lync-media-to-bypass-a-vpn-tunnel

Our options were, as mentioned above, to create an additional server just for DNS or piggyback the DNS server on an existing server.  Oh and of course, we couldn’t just have this on one server as we wanted redundancy.  Instead of building two new servers, we piggybacked on some existing servers.  One of these servers was an Exchange Witness server (another server that may be a good candidate to be a Nano Server).  Now we had additional servers doing multiple things, and no matter how well we documented or noted this, this information might be forgotten or lost.  Subsequently, we needed to make sure that we coordinated reboots and updates for all of these servers appropriately so we would not adversely impact other services during updates or reboots of these servers.

The other option of course would be to build full Windows servers.  This just feels wrong, having to build two full Windows servers for something as small as DNS.  We would be using more resources and have to patch and maintain even more servers.

Instead of having to build and maintain full blown Windows servers, you can now utilize the Nano Server feature.

Here are some advantages of the Nano Server:

  • You can build a Nano Server very quickly;
  • Patching will be faster/less often, as there will be fewer critical updates;
  • VM footprint on your host will be significantly smaller;
  • Boot up times are much faster;
  • Reduction of resources needed for additional servers;
  • You will be able to deploy more of these small specialized servers for your small applications and services.

You can read more about Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Nano Server here: https://www.aka.ms/nanoserver.

If you have any questions or need help implementing any of the technologies mentioned above, email our IT Infrastructure Services team at info@peters.com or call us at 630.832.0075.  We are happy to help!