Join Mike Pfeiffer for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding the benefits of Server Core, part of Up and Running with Server Core for Windows Server 2012 R2.
- When you perform an installation of Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2, you'll notice that the default installation option is for Server Core. There's a lot of reasons behind this in terms of performance and security, but this is a new best practice for Microsoft. They have a lot of remote command-line administration tools that you can use, like Remote PowerShell and they also have a lot of graphical remote administration tools that you can use to manage the server. And the idea is to keep components off of the server that we don't need and do all of the management from remote work stations. And there's a lot of benefits to running Server Core.
First is increased stability. Since Server Core has fewer running processes and services installed on the server, there's less of a chance of something going wrong. This is also the same in terms of configuration settings. If you have less things installed on the server, there's less chance an administrator can incorrectly configure a setting or a configuration file. Server Core also significantly reduces the attack surface of your servers. Again, this is because you have less systems services running or less processes running. And there's less that a remote attacker can compromise some kind of system service that may have a bug in it that Microsoft hasn't patched yet.
We also have the concept of less disk and memory requirements, and this is especially useful in a virtualized environment. When you do a server installation for Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2, you'll generally notice that about 10 gigabytes of space is required for a full-blown installation for a server with a graphical user interface. If you install Server Core you'll notice that it's about half of that. It's somewhere around five gigabytes. So we're significantly reducing the footprint of the required storage that needs to be allocated to those servers.
And especially if you're running it in a virtualized environment this can help out greatly. Since we don't have all of those extra components as well there's less memory requirements on the server and the servers will definitely perform much better. And one of the best things about Server Core is overall more uptime for your servers. There's less patching that needs to be done on those servers. That means less reboots for those servers and taking them down for maintenance. Microsoft says that you can expect anywhere from 40 to 45% less patches required to be installed on the server when you're running the Server Core operating system.
Now that we've looked at some of the benefits of why you'd want to run Server Core, let's move on to talking about installation options.
- Understanding the benefits of Server Cover
- Installing Server Core
- Adjusting server settings
- Configuring the Windows firewall
- Managing server roles and features
- Working with files, folders, users, and groups
- Managing services remotely with PowerShell or graphical tools
- Installing updates