As organizations move toward modern DevOps practices, the role of the operating system needs to evolve to support both the “Dev” and the “Ops” part of the equation.

In November we released Technical Preview 4 of Windows Server 2016, including updates for Nano Server, the new headless deployment option.  Nano Server loads only the base OS roles, resulting in a footprint up to 20x smaller than Windows Server with Desktop Experience.  For IT Pros, this translates into a smaller attack surface, fewer updates and reboots, and increased server density…all great for running and managing an efficient, secure datacenter.

Today let’s focus on why Nano Server is great for developers. Nano Server makes a particularly good application platform for “born in the cloud” applications which leverage containers and micro services architectures.  These new development models work best with an OS that delivers speed, agility and lower resource consumption.  Nano Server delivers the super-fast boot and setup times that developers expect. Nano Server’s small 410MB footprint results in setup time of 40 seconds and boot time on a non-SSD desktop machine of 15 seconds and even faster on faster hardware or in a VM.

Give Nano Server a try with our new VHD

To make it easy for developers to start working with Nano Server, we recently posted a VHD of Technical Preview 4 with just Nano Server deployed. The VHD and details on how to get started are posted in the Nano Server blog: “Download just Nano Server in a VHD (Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 4)”.

Maybe you’ve seen our blogs and videos about how to write apps that run on Nano Server, use Nano Server in a container, create Nano Server images, and deploy Nano Server on-premises or in a VM in the cloud. Now we’ve posted a video that puts it all together: A Nano Server IaaS VM in Azure, running a Nano Server container that is in turn running IIS, CoreCLR, ASP.NET 5 and an ASP.NET app. Check it out, and then give it a try for yourself.

Check out more improvements for developers

To make it easier for developers to write agents, tools, or apps that run on Nano Server we have made three important improvements:

  1. Updated the Nano Server developer experience and posted a video of how to configure your dev environment: “Nano Server Developer Experience – Visual Studio 2015 Update 1 and above”
  2. Released NanoServerAPIScan.exe so that you can scan managed code to see what, if any, changes are required to run on Nano Server: “Native Binary Scanning Tool (NanoServerApiScan.exe) for Nano Server”
  3. Released the documentation on Windows Server Application (WSA) installer:
    • “Installing Windows Server Apps on Nano Server”
    • “Hands-on Packaging and Installing your first Windows Server Apps on Nano Server”
    • A demo of using the Wix toolset to create a WSA in addition to an MSI: “Create your WSA using FireGiant APPX Extension on top of Wix Toolset”

As you explore the possibilities of Nano Server in Windows Server 2016, please let us know how we can continue to improve the development experience.  We look forward to your suggestions on Windows Server User Voice. And follow us on the Nano Server blog and The Nano Server Channel for continued posts of new tools and documentation.