|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|
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
Jun. 25, 2016 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,467
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Jun. 25, 2016 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 980
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Jun. 25, 2016 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 825
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Jun. 25, 2016 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,178
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
Jun. 25, 2016 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,143
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
Jun. 25, 2016 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,136
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
Jun. 25, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 417
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
Jun. 25, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,251
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Jun. 25, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,200
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
Jun. 25, 2016 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,202
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
Jun. 25, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 634
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Jun. 25, 2016 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,070
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 Day 2 Keynote at @ThingsExpo, Henrik Kenani Dahlgren, Portfolio Marketing Manager at Ericsson, discussed how to plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change t...
Jun. 25, 2016 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,013
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
Jun. 25, 2016 07:30 AM EDT Reads: 822
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
Jun. 24, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,320
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their backend AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT - especially in the connected home and office. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Kocher, founder and managing director of Grey Heron, explained how Amazon is extending its reach to become a major force in IoT by building on its dominant cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strat...
Jun. 24, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,568
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Jun. 24, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 925
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
Jun. 24, 2016 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 603
industrial company for a multi-year contract initially valued at over $4.0 million. In addition to DataV software, Bsquare will also provide comprehensive systems integration, support and maintenance services. DataV leverages advanced data analytics, predictive reasoning, data-driven diagnostics, and automated orchestration of remediation actions in order to improve asset uptime while reducing service and warranty costs.
Jun. 22, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,344
Vidyo, Inc., has joined the Alliance for Open Media. The Alliance for Open Media is a non-profit organization working to define and develop media technologies that address the need for an open standard for video compression and delivery over the web. As a member of the Alliance, Vidyo will collaborate with industry leaders in pursuit of an open and royalty-free AOMedia Video codec, AV1. Vidyo’s contributions to the organization will bring to bear its long history of expertise in codec technolo...
Jun. 19, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,237