In some situations, the core installation of Windows makes sense for a server deployment. The core installation of Windows Server 2008 R2 release ushers in new changes for server administrators. For instance, all editions of Windows Server 2008 R2 are only available for an x64 platform. Other changes for core installations for Windows Server 2008 R2 are a little less obvious but nonetheless important. Here are some of the important changes:
- .NET support: The core installation now supports a subset of .NET 2.0, 3.0, and 3.5. This doesn't provide the entire line of functionality of the .NET Framework, but it will be a boon to many situations. In my experience, using the core installation for IIS servers didn't make sense because many custom-coded Web sites require the .NET Framework. For organizations with a large number of Web servers running custom Web engines, the core installation can be a good solution with the proper engine environment with .NET support.
- Certificate services: The Active Directory certificate services role is now available on the core installation for organizations that use a public key infrastructure (PKI).
- File Server Resource Manager (FSRM) available: The FSRM is a tool used to set quotas, offer reporting, and monitor for file extension activity. The file server role is a good candidate for a core installation, but the lack of built-in tools (such as the FSRM) makes the ongoing management of this type of file server challenging.
- PowerShell functionality: Core installations can install a PowerShell engine. Unlike the other R2 editions, the Core Edition does not install PowerShell by default. The engine available for Core Edition is version 1 of PowerShell. The following commands will enable PowerShell on a Windows Server 2008 R2 core installation:
start /w ocsetup NetFx2-ServerCore
start /w ocsetup MicrosoftWindowsPowerShellThe first command adds the .NET 2 Framework for core installations. Then PowerShell can be run within the core command prompt by browsing to the C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\V1.0\ folder and running PowerShell.exe.
- Remote management: The Server Manager management snap-in now supports remote administration of core installation servers.
- Removed features: Besides the x86 support, the Windows Server 2008 R2 Core Edition also removes support for the Windows Removable storage. The core installation is not available for Itanium-based systems.
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Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.