Earlier this year, Microsoft announced it would be adding Windows Server to its Insider preview program by July. Today, July 13, is the day the company delivered its first Insider preview test build to Windows Server 2016 users.
Today's Windows Server test build, Build 16237, offers an early preview of the feature release to Windows Server 2016, which will be known as 1709, that's expected to begin rolling out this September. (Microsoft also released a new Insider preview today of Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Build 16241.)
In today's first Server test build are new base container images for Nano Server and Server Core, according to Microsoft's July 13 post announcing the new test build, which is available to those in the Windows Insiders for Business program or Windows Insider Program. The Nano Server image includes a preview image of Nano Server with .NET Core 2.0 and a preview image based on PowerShell 6.0.
Today's Insider preview includes support for SMB volume mounting and some changes around Cloud Guest. Windows Server Insider build 16237 also includes support for shielded Linux VMs; data deplucation for ReFS; and support for cluster sets. Persistent memory can now be exposed to Hyper-V virtual machines in this build, and improvements to container networking for improved Kubernetes support is included, too.\
As of this build, as Microsoft officials disclosed previously, Nano Server is now a container-only option. That means several features were removed from what was originally included in the base image for Nano Server in Windows Server 2016, including WMI, PowerShell, .NET Core and the Servicing stack.
Microsoft also has optimized the Windows Server Core base image with this build, "saving over 20% download and on disk space," the blog post says.
As Microsoft does with Windows 10 Insider builds, officials have listed known issues for this Insider build in its blog post, which anyone interested in downloading the test build should check out prior to doing so.
Microsoft is on track to offer two new feature updates to Windows Server each year -- around September and March -- starting in September 2017.