Microsoft says it is making improvements to its Windows Server container images, which are used to create isolated virtualized Windows operating system environments for running applications. In an announcement, the company says it has reduced the size of the Windows Server Core and Nanoserver base images by up to 40%, making them faster to download and deploy.
If you're unfamiliar with Windows Server Core, it is a medium-sized image that supports traditional .NET framework applications. As for Nanoserver, it is an ultralight image that is built for .NET Core applications.
Both images are in the Docker Hub and come from the Microsoft Container Registry (MCR).
In its post, Microsoft points out that size reduction was possible once it removed some components that were not essential for container scenarios. The most notable of those components is the Microsoft Edge web browser.
Undocking Capability will Arrive Soon
Microsoft does not want to remove the Edge container image entirely. That is why it says it will soon provide a separate container image for the browser. This image will allow users to run web-based applications or tests inside containers.
This will also enable Microsoft to update Edge independently from the base images, giving users more flexibility and control over their container environments. It is worth noting this is not available yet and Microsoft says it will provide more details on undocking Edge from base images soon.
Alongside removing major components like Edge, Microsoft says it made other improvements to reduce image sizes:
“Additionally, we have found opportunities for modest improvements to other aspects of the image. For example, we've disabled unnecessary scheduled tasks and pruned non-essential log files. Finally, we've made changes to our image tooling, which should reduce the need to rebaseline our images when certain aspects of our image-generation algorithm change.”
The reduced-size Windows Server container images are available for Windows Server 2022 and Windows Server 2019. Users can pull them from the MCR using the following commands:
docker pull mcr.microsoft.com/windows/servercore:ltsc2022 docker pull mcr.microsoft.com/windows/nanoserver:ltsc2022
Microsoft also offers Windows and Windows Server base images, which provide the full Windows API set for workloads that require it. Because these images are bigger than Nanoserver and Server Core images, they are only deliverable through Windows Server 2022.
Tip of the day: File History is a Windows back up feature that saves each version of files in the Documents, Pictures, Videos, Desktop, and Offline OneDrive folders. Though its name implies a primary focus on version control, you can actually use it as a fully-fledged backup tool for your important documents.