Windows Server 2016 - Nano Server

Iron Contributor

Hey Guys, 


I am doing some studying for me Server 2016 Exam and am trying to figure out or make sense of nano server. I think i have a basic understanding of it, but am confused buy this link here:


"Starting in Windows Server, version 1709, Nano Server will be available only as a container base OS image. Check out Changes to Nano Server to learn what this means." 


Does that mean that Nano server cannot be used as a File Server, Hyper-V host or Join A domain? My understanding with nano server is before version 1709 you could setup and run the following: 


1) File Servers (Scale out, Scale Up) 

2) Run as a the HOST OS on bare metal to allow for hosting VMs (clustered or not). 

3) Run Docker Containers

4) Run IIS Web Servers


Has the Above Changed? As mentioned i am having a tough time understanding Nano server itself and the changes made since 1709, and let me assure you the link provided when you click on "Learn what this means" is definitely not helping matters any. 





4 Replies

@Robert Bollinger @Tony Redmond 


Hey Tony, 


I was hoping you could assist me with this question. I realize you normally do Office 365 and Exchange but since you always seem to know the answers to my questions, i was hoping you could assist here. 




Sorry mate... I am in the cloud now and haven’t looked into the innards of a Windows server for a while...
i assume you have the answer by now but just in case: you are correct

the concept of nano server used to be essentially server core done well, but now it's used exclusively as a guest for hyper-v container images as an alternative to full windows which is arguably way too big for these container images

this re-positioning of nano server means it has no longer has the original drivers, roles, or services and cannot be installed on bare metal, essentially all server 2016 release functionality has been stripped out of it to make a very light bare minimum software platform

i would assume the exam would ask questions about how nano server was intended at release, but since the product was essentially cancelled after release (when Snover was moved to work on azure stack) i would advise looking at older documentation and blogs

if however the exam is updated it probably wont ask a single question about it as its even stripped from updated install images as if it never existed

hope that's useful!

Somewhat sorry for the long delay. I couldn't put together that it had all of its drivers removed and can no longer be used as an installable OS. Now in doing some additional research and based on the above document, isnt it only version 1803/9 that has been changed? Will my Version of Windows Server 2016 1603 still allow me to install Nano server. 


Also what good are docker solutions on windows operating systems? Arent docker solutions really only for Linux based installations? (regardless of what Microsoft thinks).