Nano Server Installation

Kevin Brown
A free video tutorial from Kevin Brown
Windows, Azure, AWS, Cisco, Security Instructor & Author
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Windows Server 2016 Administration

Windows Server 2016: Nano Server, Server Core, Active Directory, DNS, DHCP, Hyper-V, WDS, WSUS, NLB and more.

10:24:30 of on-demand video • Updated December 2020

  • Install Windows Server 2016 as a Desktop Experience Server, Server Core and as a Nano Server
  • Manage users and computers using Active DIrectory
  • Configure computers using Group Policy
  • Manage DNS
  • Understand Powershell
  • Create and manage Virtual Machines using Hyper-V
  • Implement a DHCP infrastructure
  • Deploy operating systems using Windows Deployment Services (WDS)
  • Backup and Restore Windows Server 2016
  • Implement Data Deduplication to reduce storage
  • Monitor Windows Server performance using built-in tools
  • Install and manage Windows Software Update Service (WSUS)
English I'm going to show you how to install the Nano server the Nano server cannot be installed like the standard or data center servers. So what I have here I've added the Windows Server 2016 DVD in that DVD. So this is the structure of the server 2016 media. I have this nano server folder that shows up here. I'm just going to right-click this folder. Copy it and I'm going to just paste it to the root of my C:\ Drive and you can paste it to any location, that that does not matter. In this nano server folder a few things were interested and actually show up. One is this When file the nano server .WIM, that file is one hundred sixty four megabytes we see at the bottom left. You could simply take that file and add it to the SCCM or WDS windows deployment server the Microsoft deployment tool kit. So any of the OS deployment tools that Microsoft has you can simply copy that file and be done with it. Now that's not what we want to do. We actually want to go through the process of building the nano server this nano server image generate folder. If we open the inside of that folder there's a nano server image generator power shell module. We need to load that module loading that power module will let us run commands to create the Nano server so you can only do this to power shell. You can't go through the GUI and build out a nano server. So here I'm going to pull up power shell. So in my power shell prompt the first thing we have to do is import that model for the nano server. So I'm just going to run this import module now. I have to specify the path down to that nano server module. So that's on the root of the C-Drive. There's a nano server folder inside of that nano server folder there was a subfolder nano server image generator inside and that was the actual power shell module and the name of that module was nano server image generator. .psm1 is the extension for a power module. So soon as I hit enter that just drops down to the next line. Now we can run these nano server commands so to build a nano server. This new Nano server image is the actual command with itself. So new nano server image, one of the great things about Power Shell is tab completion. So if you don't know what switches should go with this new Nano server you can simply type dash and hit tab and it'll cycle through all the switches you need to use for this command. So while the first we will say that is this deployment type so that deployment type space if I hit tab you'll see I have the option to make this a guest or a host guest is going to create a virtual harddrive that's intended to be ran as a virtual machine. So if you want to nano server to be a VM that's what you would choose if you want your nano server to be a host operating system installed on a physical machine. Then we would just use host. Now I want to run this as a virtual machine so I'm going to use guest the edition so that edition data center or standard would be the two choices. I'm gonna just choose the standard edition here. Media path. That's just the path to the Nano server image itself. And we'll just use the path on the DVD drive. So I'll just use my point that to my D drive now this target path Dash target path. This is the location that the virtual harddrive with the Nano server image on it will actually be created in. So I'm going to just save it to the root of my C-Drive on this machine so we'll specify c:\ I'm going to name it. Nano01.vhdx a few of the things we can add to this to make our life much easier. And this deployment process I'm going to add the computer name. So I want the host operating system here. The OS running inside the virtual machine. I want it to be named nano01 so it will be the name of the OS and I want to join into the domain. So I'm going to specify a domain name is the name of my my domain. What is very interesting about this if you do not join it to the domain now it's an arduous process after the fact. I want to specify a computer name and domain name at this time so what's going to happen. The machine I'm running this power shell command on is joined to the domain. It's going to pre-stage a computer account in active directory automatically. Then it's going to write an offline domain join file into the nano server. So as soon as the nano server actually powers up for the first time it's going to pull a dynamic address from my DHCP server and it's going to automatically contact the domain controller seamlessly join itself to the domain. And I will be able to log in with my domain account the very first time this actually powers on if I don't do that you'd have to create this now. Then you would have to go in and rename it and join it to the domain. And that just takes additional steps that would be unnecessary. Now if you want this to be in a workgroup then just don't include the domain name. So depends on what your what your goal actually is. But almost certainly it's gonna be a joined to a domain. So it's easiest to do that now so that would create this for us at the moment it does not have any roles or features that would be loaded on it. So what we want to take a look at next if I go back to that nano server folder on my C drive there is a packages folder there. If I open the packages This is everything my nano server can actually do. So you'll see there's a complete package that would be for a Hyper-V host if I wanted to load Windows containers I could specify a container package datacenter bridging Windows Defender could be loaded DNS package I could load this in a fail over cluster. We could make this a file server. So a lot of things you can actually load on this. Well the machine we're building we will just make it up a web server so I'll just run this Microsoft bash nano server dash. I asked package so if we go back to power shell in power shell I'm going to run this Dash package and that was Microsoft nano server. That's IIS dash package so we can just run that like it is that asked me for an administrator password I'll just enter the password. Now it's going through the creation of the nano server itself. Our nano server has completed so everything has been created. A few things we want to take a look at. I'm going to go to active directory users and computers this computer's container notice I have Bravo and Charlie computers and this nano01 computer. Now I've not yet powered up the virtual machine but it was pre-stage in active directory because I include the dash computer name it name the the OS and I include the dash domain name a datum dot com and add it then added that machine to the domain. The other thing will notice what will actually started up first. So to get this started up my machine here is actually a Windows 10 client machine. Is the host I'm actually using. So I'm going to run this in Hyper-V So just so you know how I set this up. If you're using Windows 8 or newer operating systems on the client side or server 2008 or newer on the server side you can load this Hyper-V feature if you are on Windows 10. You can go to programs and features and control panel. And this turn Windows features on or off this will let you load Hyper-V and you can load the actual hypervisor itself and you can run virtual machines in the server OS. If you go to server manager you can add roles and features. This would give me the option when I choose my alpha machine. Here's the one I'm using. So this will give me the option to install Hyper-V on the server. So if you just want to demo this. Or you could easily demo it in a client OS or if you want to load it on a server OS you could just install Hyper-V on a server. So what we want to look at in this Hyper-V manager I want to create a virtual machine and I want to use the virtual hard drive that we just created so that virtual harddrive I created we save that to the C-Drive. So the powershell command we just ran our target path was the C-Drive now it drops to the next line here but this nano01.vhdx. So on this machine if we go to the root of the C-Drive nano01 well notice that is only five hundred six megabytes in size. That's the full nano operating system ready to run. So I'm going to take that virtual harddrive and I am going to copy the virtual harddrive back to my host computer. I'll just get out of the virtual machine here for a moment. And on my computer I'm just going to navigate to my C-Drive now. I have already created this empty folder named nano on my C-Drive but I'm going to click on that folder there. It's just an empty folder in that folder. I'm just going to paste that virtual harddrive. Now that's just over 500 meg so it goes fairly quick as that's being copied. I'm going to go to my Hyper-V manager and I'm going to create a new virtual machine. So Hyper-V manager we open that the actions pane on the right side of the screen gives me an option for a new virtual machine. So when this new virtual machine where it comes up the first thing we're asked is to click next. Next on this before you begin to kind of an intro to the to the wizard. Nothing extremely technical there. So the first actual question is what do you want to name the virtual machine. Well I'm going to name it Nano01. Now that is not the name of the operating system itself. So that's not the computer name that's just the name that will be referenced here. Under my virtual machines. So it's always a great idea to make it same as the computer name itself. Avoids confusion that way. So that's what I'm going to do. I want to name it Nano01 how much memory do we do we want to assign it one gig is enough for our nano server so I will leave that the way it is and it'll ask us if we want to connect this to a virtual switch. So this connection I'm just going to choose this private. I have it named as an existing virtual switch. So we'll say next for that whenever you create a virtual machine. It always asks you if you want to create a new virtual hard drive. Or if you want to use an existing Well here I'm going to say I want to use an existing virtual hard disk and I'm simply going to browse out to my C-Drive to that nano folder and we're going to choose that nano 0 1 Something will stay open for that next and finish my nano server shows up here on the list. So I'm going to click Start for that nano server. Just a few seconds and that will pop up to a log in screen. Now because we join this to the domain I can authenticate fully with my domain user account. Now one of the things you'll notice here is you can't click on anything you do see that dot for the cursor actually is but there is no integration with the browser will forgive me. There is no integration with the mouse. I meant to say you have to tab to these fields. Now it may be hard to notice but the user name the dotted line to the right the user name is a little brighter than the password or the domain name. If I hit tab you may notice that the password is a little brighter now. Now the domain. So I just cycle through those. Often I find I cannot actually see them. I just have to start typing and see where I'm at but I'm going just type administrator for my username and I'm going to tab to the password and I'm going to enter my domain name which is a datum dot com and enter what's interesting here. I am logged in to the nano server recovery console. The only thing you get when you log into a nano server is this recovery console. There's only four options as to what you can manage. I can manage my network setting. You can manage inbound firewall rules your outbound firewall rules and you can enable or disable remote management. That is all you can do locally on a nano server. You cannot open a command prompt you cannot open power shell. This is so small in a 500 megabyte operating system it does not contain any of those features. So if I go to networking I'm going to hit enter to authenticate it has my one network adapter Ethernet solve it for that well right now tells me that I am a DHCP enabled client and I am using an IP version 4 address that's the address I was leased my subnet mask if I want to manage this F 11 at the bottom is for IPV for settings. So I'm just going to hit F 11 on my keyboard carries me into that configuration and the bottom of this says f four to toggle. So right now DHCP is enabled. If I wanted it disabled and wanted to set a static IP address instead F4 would change that to disabled and it would give me the fIelds. So I could type in my IP address subnet mask default gateway. Now I actually don't want to set a static address on this right now. So I just want to escape to back out of that and I'll escape again and we will escape one more time. So back to the homescreen for the nano recovery console the firewall and enabling or disabling remote management is all you could do locally on this machine. Well I want to log out of this so I'm going to hit escape and that just logs me out. So we know our nano server is fully functioning and online. Well I'm going to just get out of the nano server for a moment and I'm going to connect to the server 2016 with a graphical interface that we were using we saw the computer account earlier here in active directory the Nano 0 1. If I go back to a server manager and I pull up the DHCP In DHCP if I just open my IP version 4 settings and if I look at the scope under address leases you'll see that and that address 172.16.0 200. That's the same IP address we just saw. When we looked at the nano server itself in the recovery console so pulled that address down contacted the active directory allowed me to log in now to manage this. If I go to all servers what we can do here actually I'm just going to refresh this remote management was not enabled so we will remove that old machine there. When I'm in server manager I'm just going to go to this all servers and I'm going to add server. Right now it is looking in active directory. Well we know that nano server is a member of that domain. So I'm just going to select find now gives me a list of all the operating systems. So these are all my computers I should say all my computers in active directory. I'm going to just choose my nano01 and add that in and I want to say okay for that my nano01 is online now. I could if I wanted to manage this to power shell I'm going to choose Windows power shell that'll take just a moment to connect but we're going to see in front of the power shell text itself. It says So any command I run here executes on the nano server. So you could just remotely manage this through power shell. So if I just ran hostname it just comes back as nano 0 1 so everything could be managed remotely. We are just managing this from a different machine through remote commands remote power shell and even some remote graphical tools but all will have to be ran remotely. The beauty of this this is a 500 meg operating system that we're looking at here. So a practical use for this if I want to build say a 2 node file server cluster offer failover purposes. You could have a central storage location and you could have a terabyte of files in the storage location. The servers that your clients would actually connect to the true users would connect to the operating system on that server could be just over a 500 meg operating system consumes very few resources. There's just not much to actually burn through resources and patching is far less on a nano server than it would be on any other machine because there's not that much to patch. Maybe the largest trade off here nano servers do not process group policy does not even have a policy engine. And the majority of the settings that you would have set the policy they would not be able to apply to a nano server anyway because most of the restrictions of the settings they just wouldn't exist. So administration of the nano server would be ran remotely for the most part through power shell adding firewall rules very common we do that through policy. You would have to do that locally for any nano server that you deploy if you need a machine and a perimeter network maybe an external DNS server like a caching only DNS server in a perimeter network now that can be a 500 megabyte operating system if you want to put an application server in the cloud as long as the vendor says they support the nano server configuration for their application you can have a 500 make OS power your entire application. So many purposes for it never will be. You know the common operating system you see. But in many ways far more efficient than using desktop experience server thats 10 gigs a server core which is six and a half gigs. So this is one twentieth the disk size of a graphical server. When we build out this nano.