Nano Server future and Windows Server servicing channels

Nano Server has been presenting as an ideal Windows Server option for general infrastructure roles including Hyper-V and Storage since the RTM release. It’s been changed. Nano Server won’t be supported as an image for infrastructure-related roles deployed on physical/virtual machines and can be used only as container image.  So, now we need to step back and use Server Core again for roles like Hyper-V or Storage Spaces Direct.

It was confirmed yesterday by Erin Chapple, General Manager of Windows Server:

This next release will focus on making Nano Server the very best container image 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. 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.

There are also some changes in the servicing model for Windows Server and System Center. There will be two primary release channels available to Windows Server customers, the Long-term Servicing Channel, and the new Semi-annual Channel in order to align with similar release and servicing models for Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus

In Long-term Servicing model, where a new major version of Windows Server is released every 2-3 years, users are entitled to 5 years of mainstream support, 5 years of extended support, and optionally 6 more years with Premium Assurance. This channel is appropriate for systems that require a longer servicing option and functional stability.

The new Semi-annual channel for Windows Server, Server Core and System Center will have new releases available twice a year, in spring and fall. Each release in this channel will be supported for 18 months from the initial release. Most of the features introduced in the Semi-annual Channel will be rolled up into the next Long-term Servicing Channel release of Windows Server. The editions, functionality, and supporting content might vary from release to release depending on customer feedback.

The Semi-annual Channel will be available to volume-licensed customers with Software Assurance, as well as via the Azure Marketplace or other cloud/hosting service providers and loyalty programs such as MSDN.

Both the Long-term Servicing Channel and the Semi-annual Channel releases will be supported with security updates and non-security updates distributed by servicing tools like WU, WSUS or SCCM

windows server servicing models

Windows Server has also become a member of Windows Insider Program. Pre-release builds of Windows Server will be available for download via the Windows Insider Program and the Windows Insider Program for Business. To join this program follow these steps

Nested virtualization in Azure

Fist of all*, I’d like to announce that e-book “Introduction to Windows Server 2016 (Russian Edition)” with my technical review and translation had been published and became available for download.

It was originally written for technical preview but this new edition has plenty fixes and additional notes with full adaptation to the current version of Windows Server. I believe we did the great work in a short time. If you find some typo or mistake, feel free to contact me. *I’m sorry..we’re way off topic..let’s back to Azure

Another important news that I’ve missed – Azure is going to support nested virtualization.  However, only new Ev3 and Dv3 VM series will support it. + Azure team has increased maximum disk size to 4096 Gb for both Premium and Standard disks. Hallelujah 🙂

These VMs come with enabled nested virtualization and completely ready for guest VMs or Hyper-V containers. There are many scenarios where it’d be helpful. For instance, you can create smaller number of large VMs using Ev3 or Dv3 VMs with a full control of resource allocation for any guest VMs. I tested nested VMs in WS2016 and now I’m looking forward to test them in Azure as well.

Azure Nested Virtualization| New VM Sizes Ev3 and Dv3

Update 07/14: Dv3 and Ev3 VMs became available for  certain Azure regions Read how to setup nested virtualization in Azure here

Azure v3 VMs , Nested Virtualization in Azure