Longhorn Server Core anyone ?
So I have finally freed some time to give a shot to the long awaited Longhorn Server Core.
"Server Core? What the hell?" - one might ask. Well, if you have not heard about it, this is where all those Unix SysAdmins will shrug and will give you one of those "yeh, right!" looks. We are talking here about a cut-down version of server OS that comes without all those GUI bells and wistles. When you are done with the installation, all you have is a command prompt. Cool!
Server Core: Beginning with the Beta 2 release of Windows Server "Longhorn," administrators can choose to install Windows Server with only the services required to perform the DHCP, DNS, file server, or domain controller roles. This new installation option will not install non-essential services and applications and will provide base server functionality without any extra overhead. While the Server Core installation option is a fully functioning mode of the operating system supporting one of the designate roles, it does not include the server graphic user interface (GUI). Because Server Core installations include only what is required for the designated roles, a Server Core installation will typically require less maintenance and fewer updates as there are fewer components to manage. In other words, since there are fewer programs and components installed and running on the server, there are fewer attack vectors exposed to the network, resulting in a reduced attack surface. If a security flaw or vulnerability is discovered in a component that is not installed, a patch is not required.
So I logged on to my MSDN account and downloaded the 5600 build. Not having free hardware to spare for the task I created a virtual machine in Virtual Server 2005 R2 and as I was planning to install the "GUI-less" version, I took quite opportunistic decision to give it only 256MB of RAM (ok...ok... so I did not read the hardware requirements first) and after the first screen was nicely informed that the installation requires at least 512MB of RAM. Quite irritating if you ask me, considering that the OS is not planned to run GUI applications.
Anyway, I reconfigured the virtual machine with 512MB and restarted the installation, during which I was presented with the following screen:
After several additional screens I was finally presented with the logon screen that to my surprise was almost identical to Vista's look:
Now here the things get interesting... Entering the password all I got was the following:
Wow ! We have ended up with a server without Explorer, no IE and no GUI wizards to help us configure it ? Frightening thought... But do not let this scare you. In the next posts I will show you how to perform some basic things you were used to do in GUI using the "Core-way" ;)
Till next time...