At Build 2017, Microsoft mentioned it will bring Windows Server to a new semi-annual release update cycle. This will start in the fall, but the company didn’t offer many more details. Microsoft has now expanded on the plans and also offered additional information.

The upcoming Nano Server configuration will boast an image footprint that has been reduced by 50 percent. Microsoft is shirking its Nano Server infrastructure to focus on container-based environments.

In its latest announcement, Microsoft has confirmed that the new features are reserved for customers adopting the semi-annual Windows Server Channel. The overhaul of the Nano Server is important as it was only released a year ago.

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Indeed, Microsoft backed the server fully and marketed it as the minimal-footprint deployment of choice for Windows Server 2016. However, since then, the company has observed most customers are running container-based applications. These apps are based on familiar container managers Kubernetes and Docker.

Erin Chapple, general manager for Windows Server, says the changes are important for making workloads as small as possible:

“From these changes, customers will now see the Nano Server images shrink in size by more than 50 percent, further decreasing startup times and improving container density. As part of this effort to focus on containers, we will be removing the functionality for infrastructure-related roles,” Chapple says.

“Instead of using Nano Server for these scenarios, we recommend deploying the Server Core installation option, which includes all the roles and features you would need. These changes to Nano Server, combined with the new application innovations in .NET Core 2.0 which enables customers to use more of their code in more places, make Nano Server the best option for new container-based development.”

Server Core

Microsoft is pointing customers to Server Core to hit virtual machines and containers. Chapple explains that these can run on Nano Server of Linux images.

Starting this fall, Linux workloads through Hyper-V isolation will be supported. This allows Linux containers to run without the need for separate infrastructures. Windows and Linux apps will run through the same deployments.

Microsoft says the announced features will be coming to the Windows Insider Program soon.

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