Longhorn:: 10 Reasons to look at Windows Longhorn Part 5: Server Core

When I talked about the server management improvements in the first part of this series I explained that we have defined different server roles and features. Now with the introduction of Windows Server Core which is a minimal installation of Windows Longhorn server.

What I mean with minimal installation is that we only install the core server functionality without any extra overhead. The server core can be used for the following server roles:

  • Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server
  • Domain Name System (DNS) server
  • File server, which includes:
    • File Replication service
    • Distributed File System Replication
    • Distributed File System service
    • Network File System
    • Single Instance Storage
  • Domain controller, read-only domain controller, and Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM)

At RTM time there will be additional roles like Media server, Print Server and Virtualization with the Hypervisor technology.

Beside those roles we do support some additional optional features like:

  • Microsoft Cluster Server
  • Network Load Balancing
  • Subsystem for UNIX-based applications
  • Backup
  • Multipath I/O
  • Removable Storage Management
  • BitLocker™ Drive Encryption
  • Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) service
  • Telnet client

The choice to install a server core or a full server is done during the setup,a there is no upgrade, downgrade path. You cannot migrate from a Windows 2003 to server core, you cannot upgrade from server core to full server, all these operations require a reinstall.

Because we don't install all executables and dll's we will have a much smaller footprint than with a full server. We even don't have the explorer, Internet Explorer, no CLR, etc ...

A server core can be a headless server, no need for keyboard or mouse, but it's still manageable from the console. The other options to manage the server core is through remote MMC consoles, Terminal Services, WinRS.

Look at the sexy interface 🙂


Can you imagine which interface you will get when you are connecting through the Terminal Services 🙂


Once you installed the server there are several tasks you need to perform to have it completely up and running, here are some of them:

  • Set Administrator Password
    • ­CTRL+ALT+DEL and click Change password
    • ­net user administrator *
  • Activate
    • ­Slmgr.vbs –ato
  • Configure Static IP Address (if required)
    • ­Netsh interface ipv4
      • ­show interfaces
      • ­set address name="ID" source=static address=StaticIP mask=SubnetMask gateway=DefaultGateway
      • ­add dnsserver name="ID" address=DNSIP index=1
  • Join a domain (if required)
    • ­Netdom

Note: The slmgr.vbs is a script that can be used remotely and is also installed onto Windows Vista.

I must admit that any scripting knowledge will be welcome to manage a Windows Server core. For example to change the display resolution you can either open the registry and change a registry key or use WMI to change it. Server core will be available for the x86 and x64 versions of Longhorn server.

We see that customers who has a lot of servers to maintain will use this kind of servers due to the lower patch and management needs.

Previous Posts in this series:

Part 4: Server Hardening

Part 3: Internet Information Services 7.0

Part 2: Windows PowerShell

Part 1: Server Management Improvements

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Comments (5)

  1. Anonymous says:

    With Windows Server Codename "Longhorn" Beta 3 just around the corner, I thought it would be an apt time

  2. Anonymous says:

    Matt explains what Server Core is for in Longhorn and why you should care. Monday, April 16, 2007 1:05

  3. Anonymous says:

    It has been quite a while now since I wrote part 8 of this series. I must admit I tried to start this

  4. Anonymous says:

    In part 5 of this series I talked about the server core and which impact it can have when we look at

  5. Anonymous says:

    Yesterday @ TechEd US we announced that we will add another role to the server core in Windows Server

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