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Microsoft Takes on Linux with Nano Server


April 09, 2015

Microsoft has announced Nano Server, a lightweight version of Windows Server designed for running cloud applications, challenging Linux servers.

 “As customers adopt modern applications and next-generation cloud technologies, they need an OS that delivers speed, agility and lower resource consumption,” an official company blog post said.

Unlike the stock Windows Server, Nano Server does not have a local GUI, but is instead managed remotely through WMI and PowerShell. In that respect, this stripped-down version is similar to the many instances of Linux powering modern cloud applications.

The idea is to offer only the functionality the customer needs and nothing more. It’s designed for both cloud applications and Microsoft Cloud Platform infrastructure running Hyper-V and Scale-out File Server.

This version is made to be faster and simpler to administer than the heavyweight Windows server. It’s built to run for longer without needing to be rebooted or to install updates, as well as for lower power consumption. Microsoft claims 80 percent fewer reboots compared to the stock Windows Server, as well as 93 percent smaller VHD size and 92 percent fewer critical bulletins.

Nano Server is clearly designed to compete with the Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP (LAMP) stack that has found its way into many data centers. Administrators value Linux and other Unix-like systems for their reliability, with uptime on these systems that is measured in years in some cases.

The command-line orientation of Nano Server is an attempt to lure Linux administrators. Linux servers often ship without any graphical interface at all, normally running “headless,” without a monitor and accessed via SSH or serial console.

The support for non-Microsoft languages such as Python, Java and Node.js in addition to the company’s own C# is another attempt to woo admins skeptical of the software giant.

Microsoft could have a tough sell, since Linux distributions are already available with minimal software installed for free, similar to Nano Server.




Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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