Disclaimer: Dell does not offer support for Windows Server 2016 at this time.  Dell is actively testing and working closely with Microsoft on Windows Server 2016, but since it is still in development, the exact hardware components/configurations that Dell will fully support are still being determined.  The information divulged in our online documents prior to Dell launching and shipping Windows Server 2016 may not directly reflect Dell supported product offerings with the final release of Windows Server 2016. We are, however, very interested in your results/feedback/suggestions. Please send them to WinServerBlogs@dell.com

As a configuration option for the 13th generation Dell PowerEdge server such as R630, R730 and R730XD, etc., the Internal Dual SD Module (IDSDM) provides dual SD interfaces which can be configured in a mirrored configuration (primary and secondary SD), providing full RAID-1 redundancy. (Note: dual SD cards are not required, the IDSDM can operate with a single SD card but no redundancy.) The IDSDM also becomes a non-removable device, which makes it feasible to host a small footprint Windows Server OS. In addition, the IDSDM has added the USB 3.0 support, which can enhance its performance for the deployment and OS boot process.

With the upcoming Windows Server 2016, the lightweight, small footprint and customizable Nano server can be running on the IDSDM module. There are a couple of methods to install Nano Server which can be used on the internal SD card:

  • Create a Nano Server VHD. This method requires a running Windows Server or Server Core on the target system and you also need to configure Boot Configuration Data to make VHD as a boot option. 
  • Use WDS to PXE Boot a Nano Server VHD. This method is good for a bare metal system. It requires WDS and also requires to create a Nano VHD or customize the Nano image on the WDS with needed driver and feature packages
  • Deploy the Nano Server on a bare metal system with a bootable USB flash drive including Windows Setup files. This process is very similar as installing a regular Windows OS.

This document co-authored with Rui Freitas (Microsoft) describes the steps required to create and deploy Nano Server image on the IDSDM with the bootable USB flash drive.