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

Configuring iSCSI Target on Server 2012 Core

As you know, Server 2012 natively supports creating iSCSI targets. It’s great addition and i want to demonstrate how to set up this feature in core environment using only Powershell

My test equipment:

iSCSI Initiator –  Hyper-V VM on Server 2012
iSCSI Target – Intel Server System S1530SH with 2 SATA 500 Gb in RAID 1 and external RAID Controller with three different RAID 1.

It’s not very old server system but, comparing with newest server systems, it seems very slow during some tasks. Anyway, installation Server 2012 Datacenter Core takes about 6 minutes. Great? I think it’s pretty nice result.

Configuring iSCSI Server Target

1. Type powershell in the command line then Rename-Computer -NewName yourpcname -Restart . This cmdlet lets you change standard name of your server.
Also, i recommend to execute Update-Help cmdlet to get the latest help pages.


2. After successful restart we need to configure ip parameters. Type Get-adapter to show all network adapters in your system and their status. Remember NIC’s Index number. For example, NIC with 12 looks to iSCSI , NIC with 13 – internal


Changing ip properties at NIC with index 12


Type ipconfig /all to see result

3. Installing iSCSI Target feature. Type Get-WindowsFeature to see all available features in Server 8 and then Add-WindowsFeature FS-iSCSITarget-Server.


How to enable Windows Automatic Updates on Server Core?

4. Enabling Remote Desktop Services to management . However, you can use remote powershell connection


5. Creating partitions and VHD on our disks

Get-Disk to see what disks are available in the system


I have some old information on these disks, so i should run Clear-Disk -RemoveData to prepare them for new partitions and volumes


We have to initialize all disks before creation new partition using New-Partition cmdlet


Formatting partition using Format-Volume cmdlet


Creating Vitrual Disks on each partitions which we want to share through iSCSI Target New-iSCSIVirtualDisk c:\test\disk1.vhd -Description “test” -Size 10Gb


6. Setting up new iSCSI Target Server, disks mapping

New-iSCSIServerTarget testTarget -IntiatorIDs “IQN:iqn. … “

test – your target name, intitiatorID – client’s id to access target.

How can i get InitiatorID?

You have to use iscsicli command


Create Target : New-iSCSIServerTarget NameOfTarget -InitiatorIDs “IQN:iqn….”


Mapping our VHDs to iSCSI Target

Add-iSCSIVirtualDiskTarget Test s:\test\disk2.vhd



Configuring iSCSI Initiator on the client machine

1. Starting iSCSI Intiator


2. Connecting to created iSCSI Portal

New-iSCSITargetPortal -TargetPortalAddress YourTargetIP


Get-iSCSItarget |FL   > shows your added target portal


Connect-iSCSITarget -NodeAddress “your target IQN”


Get-Disk to see iSCSI disks. By default, they are in offline status


Taking disks to online operational status using Set-Disk


Finally, we’ll create new partitions and volumes. Notice , if your iSCSI disks are using for DPM Backups , it’s not necessary to create volumes. DPM can create them by itself.

New-Partition -DiskNumber _ -UseMaximumSize -DriveLetter _

UseMaximumSize lets to create partitions with the biggest size as possible.


Get-Partition -DiskNumber YourDisksNumbers | Format-Volume


Any questions or comments? Leave a reply!

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