Thursday, May 07, 2015

Nano Server and Hyper-V goodies

Along with the scoop on SharePoint 2016 from yesterday, I
got a load of information on two related technologies. While not directly integrated with SharePoint there is a good chance that as a SharePoint Administrator you work with Hyper-V or servers in general. I got to take a look at the Nano Server and the new Hyper-V goodies that are in the pipe to be released. If you want to play with them now, look up Technical Preview 2 from Microsoft.

Nano Server
  • Nano Server is a stripped to bare bones server.  This edition literally has no local interface; no GUI, no RDP, and no 32 bit support. Some of the advantages of this is reduced footprint in resource consumption all around, smaller attack surface for those malicious individuals roaming the internet, and extreme reduction of patching requirements. The results of all the reductions is a complete server load of under 500 MB!
  • Currently, there are two primary roles available; Hyper-V and Clustering. There are more to come (currently apps and System Center agents in the works) and Microsoft is looking for feedback on what else to include.
  • The demo servers booted in about 5 seconds and were running off of usb hard drives. The only regret is that they had to strip out the full .NET libraries to get to this size. I don't think we'll see SharePoint running directly off of this server anytime soon, but I will most definitely be exporing running SharePoint in Hyper-V from this little beast.
There are more technical details about Nano out there but those are the main pieces; it's been reduced to almost no overhead.
  • Clusters will self heal. If your clustered storage disappears for more than 60 seconds then all VMs will be paused until the clustered storage comes back. At that time, your VMs will continue as normal.
  • Microsoft is working on having backups of the individual VMs that are independent of backing up the host filing system. I'm assuming that this is related to Nano Server no having a backup role at this time.
  • There are promised tools to see how much memory each guest is utilizing. This flows into being able to change memory, dynamic and static, without shutting the virtual machine down! Network cards will also be able to be added or removed while the guest is running.
  • You will be able to PowerShell from the host to the guest operating system. This will also allow you to copy files from the host to the guest operating system and vice versa. This opens up amazing opportunities for management by scripting. I'm very interested in the opportunities this could have with our ChangeBot product for administration automation.
There are many more pieces on both these topics, but I found these to be the most pertinent to our own Microsoft environment. Best wishes on your future SharePoint success!

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