|By Keith Mayer||
|October 23, 2012 10:00 AM EDT||
Want to reduce your patch maintenance requirements by 1/3rd or more?
Of course! Who wouldn't?
Well, Server Core in Windows Server 2012 reduces the disk footprint of the operating system by approximately 4GB! When using the Server Core installation option, the features related to the Server Graphical Shell ( ie., Explorer, Start Screen, and Internet Explorer ) and Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure are not installed - GUI features that are usually not required on a dedicated server, because we tend to do most of our IT management work from our admin workstations anyway, as a "best practice". By not installing these features, we gain several advantages:
- Less filling - particularly useful when virtualizing Windows Server 2012 ... you can conceivably provision a whole lot more VM's on a Hyper-V host if each VM requires ~ 4GB less disk space!
- More uptime - Fewer installed features means fewer features to patch and maintain. Server Core has been available since Windows Server 2008, and historically we've noted as much as 35-45% fewer patches needed on Server Core installations! The next time you review your "Patch Tuesday" updates, you'll notice that a number of the operating system updates note:
- More secure - Fewer installed features also mean less of a potential attack surface, providing a more "hardened" server environment that is "purpose-built" for just the roles and features that you specifically install.
For these reasons, the "Server Core installation" option is now the default installation option when installing Windows Server 2012.
Sounds great! Why haven't more IT Pros used Server Core in the past?
OK - this is where we get to the "Improved Taste" of Server Core in Windows Server 2012! :-) When I've talked with IT Pros prior to Windows Server 2012 being released, there were often two common reasons that IT Pros hadn't been using Server Core:
- I'm limited - Not many roles and features ran on Server Core in the past
- It's just "different" - without a GUI interface, a lot of IT Pros had difficulty initially configuring new servers using command-line tools - it was a different experience for building new servers.
Both of these areas have been addressed in Windows Server 2012, which greatly improves the number of roles and applications that can be supported without a full "Server with GUI" user interface, while also making the Server Core configuration experience a more familiar path for arriving at on your server. Let's look at each of these areas of improvement ...
What can I run using Server Core?
Windows Server 2012 provides the ability to run many more roles when using Server Core, including:
- Active Directory Certificate Services
- Active Directory Domain Services
- DHCP Server
- DNS Server
- File Services (including File Server Resource Manager)
- Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS)
- Print and Document Services
- Streaming Media Services
- Web Server (including a subset of ASP.NET)
- Windows Server Update Server
- Active Directory Rights Management Server
- Routing and Remote Access Server
Great for "core" servers ... So, when you're setting up your next round of dedicated servers for Domain Controllers, DHCP servers, DNS servers, File/Print servers, or Web servers - be sure to consider Server Core! These server roles are indeed "core" to the network infrastructure of many organizations, and I'm sure you'll appreciate the improved uptime you'll likely receive from having fewer patches to manage.
For the Hyper-V role ... while you can certainly install the Hyper-V role on Windows Server 2012 using Server Core, we also provide a preconfigured FREE Hyper-V Server 2012 product. Hyper-V Server 2012 is a "prebuilt" edition of Server Core + Hyper-V without the other roles that are included in a full copy of Windows Server 2012. Hyper-V Server 2012 includes all the same great scale, availability and virtualization features as Windows Server 2012 and makes a powerful dedicated virtualization host. Oh ... and did I mention ... it's FREE? :-)
SQL Server too! ... In addition to Windows Server 2012 roles, you can also install SQL Server 2012 on Server Core operating system installations - note that the SQL Server 2012 Database Engine, Analysis Services and Integration Services components are supported on Server Core, but Reporting Services is not currently supported in this configuration. Since SQL Server is also a "core" component of many network environments, "SQL on Server Core" can be an attractive option worth considering!
As other new products are released, we expect that more and more products will begin providing support for Server Core where possible.
What about other applications ... Can they run on Server Core?
Be sure to check with your application vendors ... You may be surprised to find that many will run on Server Core in Windows Server 2012! For those that don't, we do provide another option that's also new in Windows Server 2012: Minimal Server Interface.
Minimal Server Interface is a "half-way" point between the full "Server with GUI" installation option and the "Server Core" installation option When using Minimal Server Interface, the Server Graphical Shell is still removed, but Graphical Management Tools & Infrastructure remains in place. We're offering this mode primarily for 3rd party applications that have local GUI management tools that are required to run from the server console. When using Minimal Server Interface, approximately 300MB less disk space is required after the Server Graphical Shell is removed. It's not quite the same level of disk space savings as Server Core, but anything less in terms of a disk footprint is still a welcome benefit!
How do I install Windows Server 2012 with Minimal Server Interface
Unlike "Server Core installation" and "Server with GUI", Minimal Server Interface is not an install-time option. Instead, to configure the Minimal Server Interface, you'd first install Windows Server 2012 using the full "Server with GUI" option and then remove the "Server Graphical Shell" feature post-installation by using the Remove Roles and Features wizard in Server Manager. You'll find the Server Graphical Shell feature listed under the "User Interfaces and Infrastructure" feature category in the wizard.
Alternatively, you can also remove the "Server Graphical Shell" via PowerShell by running the following command line as an Administrator:
Uninstall-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell -Restart
NOTE: A server restart is required when removing or adding the "Server Graphical Shell" feature. The -Restart parameter on the command line above will force a server restart to occur. After restarting and logging back in to the server console, you'll see a very sparse user interface that looks just like "Server Core". Unlike Server Core though, you can still launch graphical management tools ( ie., Server Manager, MMC based tools, etc ) from the local server command prompt.
I love the new Server Core! But ... is it any easier to configure in Windows Server 2012?
Great question! Many IT Pros didn't leverage Server Core prior to Windows Server 2012 because it was so different performing the initial configuration of a new server entirely using command line tools. In prior releases of Windows Server, selecting "Server Core" or "Server with GUI" was an irreversible install-time decision - it was a "Life Choice" for that server! In Windows Server 2012, this has changed, too - the Server Graphical Shell and the Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure are now modular features. And, as with any other server features, we can install them and uninstall them at any point during the server's life. Keep in mind that a server restart will always be required after installing or uninstalling these features, so plan for a short maintenance window when switching server UI modes.
Based on this new feature-based design, we can initially install and configure the server using the full Server with GUI installation option. After we've finished all of our initial server configuration work, then we can remove both the Server Graphical Shell and Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure features using the Remove Roles and Features wizard in Server Manager.
I'm in Server Core ... Now, How do I get back to the GUI?
After configuring a new server and switching it to "Server Core", you'll likely be doing your daily IT management work remotely from your admin workstation using the Remote Server Administration Tools. However, on occasion, you may find a need to switch back to the full "Server with GUI" mode, particularly if you need local console access to a graphical management tool for a 3rd party application. You can easily switch from Server Core to the full Server with GUI by loading PowerShell ( yes, PowerShell is supported in Server Core! ) and running the following PowerShell command line as an Administrator:
Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra,Server-Gui-Shell -Restart
After server restart and login, you'll find the full "Server with GUI" back again for your administrative pleasure!
In this article, we've walked through the benefits of the improved Server Core in Windows Server 2012: smaller disk footprint, increased uptime and more secure. Along the way, we explored the new Minimal Server Interface and feature-based installation options for easily switching between server UI modes and supporting compatibility with a broader collection of roles, features and applications.
Do it! We offer a step-by-step hands-on lab on Server Core in Windows Server 2012 so that you can easily gain more real-world experience with installing, configuring and managing servers using the Server Core installation option.
Learn more! To gain more experience with Windows Server 2012 in your lab, feel free to join our FREE Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Challenge online study group and become one of the 1,000+ IT Pros that are now studying as "Early Experts" on Windows Server 2012.
What do you think of Server Core in Windows Server 2012?
Are you excited about using Server Core in your environment for "purpose-built" dedicated server workloads? Feel free to share your feedback and stories in the comments below!
Hope this helps,
|Build Your Lab! Download Windows Server 2012|
|Don’t Have a Lab? Build Your Lab in the Cloud with Windows Azure Virtual Machines|
|Want to Get Certified? Join our Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Study Group|
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Jul. 29, 2015 03:15 PM EDT Reads: 240
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Jul. 29, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,257
Discussions about cloud computing are evolving into discussions about enterprise IT in general. As enterprises increasingly migrate toward their own unique clouds, new issues such as the use of containers and microservices emerge to keep things interesting. In this Power Panel at 16th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the state of cloud computing today, and what enterprise IT professionals need to know about how the latest topics and trends affect their organization.
Jul. 29, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,169
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Jul. 29, 2015 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 424
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
Jul. 29, 2015 07:30 AM EDT Reads: 278
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
Jul. 28, 2015 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,377
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
Jul. 28, 2015 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,755
Converging digital disruptions is creating a major sea change - Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the network connection of People, Process, Data and Things, fueled by Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security, and it represents a $19Trillion value-at-stake over the next 10 years. In her keynote at @ThingsExpo, Manjula Talreja, VP of Cisco Consulting Services, discussed IoE and the enormous opportunities it provides to public and private firms alike. She will share what businesses must do to thrive in the IoE economy, citing examples from several industry sectors.
Jul. 28, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,036
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
Jul. 27, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,041
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
Jul. 27, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,023
Akana has released Envision, an enhanced API analytics platform that helps enterprises mine critical insights across their digital eco-systems, understand their customers and partners and offer value-added personalized services. “In today’s digital economy, data-driven insights are proving to be a key differentiator for businesses. Understanding the data that is being tunneled through their APIs and how it can be used to optimize their business and operations is of paramount importance,” said Alistair Farquharson, CTO of Akana.
Jul. 27, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 314
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a "Make or Buy" decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud business applications and services across multiple cloud delivery models.
Jul. 27, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,895
The enterprise market will drive IoT device adoption over the next five years. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Greenough, an analyst at BI Intelligence, division of Business Insider, analyzed how companies will adopt IoT products and the associated cost of adopting those products. John Greenough is the lead analyst covering the Internet of Things for BI Intelligence- Business Insider’s paid research service. Numerous IoT companies have cited his analysis of the IoT. Prior to joining BI Intelligence, he worked analyzing bank technology for Corporate Insight and The Clearing House Payment...
Jul. 26, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,567
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discussed the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.
Jul. 26, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,142
"Optimal Design is a technology integration and product development firm that specializes in connecting devices to the cloud," stated Joe Wascow, Co-Founder & CMO of Optimal Design, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 380
SYS-CON Events announced today that CommVault has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A singular vision – a belief in a better way to address current and future data management needs – guides CommVault in the development of Singular Information Management® solutions for high-performance data protection, universal availability and simplified management of data on complex storage networks. CommVault's exclusive single-platform architecture gives companies unp...
Jul. 25, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,947
Electric Cloud and Arynga have announced a product integration partnership that will bring Continuous Delivery solutions to the automotive Internet-of-Things (IoT) market. The joint solution will help automotive manufacturers, OEMs and system integrators adopt DevOps automation and Continuous Delivery practices that reduce software build and release cycle times within the complex and specific parameters of embedded and IoT software systems.
Jul. 25, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 447
"ciqada is a combined platform of hardware modules and server products that lets people take their existing devices or new devices and lets them be accessible over the Internet for their users," noted Geoff Engelstein of ciqada, a division of Mars International, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 25, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,524
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
Jul. 25, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,482
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet conditions, Dyn ensures traffic gets delivered faster, safer, and more reliably than ever.
Jul. 24, 2015 11:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,050