Use Core Server when deploying Windows on a virtual infrastructure?
Since Microsoft introduced Windows 2008 back in 2007, there is the opportunity to install a Core Server. It was the first time Microsoft introduced a lean-and-mean server, where a lot of the Linux and Unix admins always complained that the GUI on a server eats so many resources where nobody ever really uses it.
Core server installations have a big advantage above the full installation of windows: it uses up less resources on your (virtual) infrastructure.
Personally, I run a DC and a Fileserver on Windows 2008 Core, both configured with 512 Megs RAM and 1 CPU, which is more than enough for the task. If you are still on a physical infrastructure, usually a core installation is not really usefull. But when you are fully virtual, like most of us are, you can take full advantage of the less use of resources for a DNS server, DHCP server, Domain Controller, File server or a Web server. Here you can see what functions can be installed on a Windows 2008 (R2) core server.
But introducing a server with just a text window to manage it, also introduces a brand new problem: the standard Windows administrator has no clue about command line. Of course there were some initiatives to make the Core Server interface more userfriendly. Core Configurator is such a tool. But intially you need some commands to create your basis for the installation.
When I did my first core server installation, I googled my *ss off to collect all the commands needed to properly configure the server to do what I wanted it to do. Now there really was no document that simply gave you the lines you needed to create your own basic install, so I decided to collect and bundle the commands in a document myself, which you will find below. I hope you all find it useful. If you have any aditions, please let us know by posting a comment or send us a mail.
While the command line is maybe hard for “the standard Windows administrator”, it is also possible your DNS, DHCP, ADS etc. from a W2K8-Server with a GUI by connecting the particular management console with the W2K8-Core installation. So it is maybe a little harder to set up a W2K8-Core, but management is relatively easy.
On a fresh install of W2K8 R2 Core you can do everything with Core Configurator.
And once connected to the network, you can administer remotely (provided you enable remote administration with the Core Configurator).
Just in case someone was interested in using Core versions of Windows, we support it as a runnable OS on our hosted infrastructure. We don't provide support for Windows, but simply will host it if you were interested.