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Windows Server 2012 Installation Options

More flexibility and better supportability

New and flexible ways to make changes of a Windows Server 2012 installation after the fact are available. And IT pros can now convert a server from and to Server Core, and change the availability of server components that are previously committed at an installation time. This introduces new dynamics and exciting scenarios for improving supportability, efficiency, and security. This article highlights the three available installation options and some key operations based on the Release Candidate, Build 8400. There is additional information of Windows Server 2012 including: a free eBook, available editions, and a reference table summarizing the available features in each installation option available elsewhere.

Server Core

This is the default and preferred configuration for deploying Windows Server 2012. Server Core was introduced in Windows Server 2008 as a minimal installation option and a low-maintenance environment with limit functionality, while reducing:

  • Servicing requirements
  • Management requirements
  • Attack surface
  • Disk space usage
  • Memory (RAM) usage

It is installed without graphical user interface and with only the binaries required by configured server roles.

Notice that the preference for deploying Server Core of Windows Server 2012 in an enterprise signifies a new OS standard with improved user experience and supportability while still offering the above mentioned key attributes for private cloud computing. And the growing number of Server Core instances in production also suggests even higher market demands for process automation, remote management, etc. in enterprise IT space. And for IT pros, that means PowerShell scripting, a lot of. Which is why in Windows Server 2012, PowerShell support achieves a critical mass with 2,400+ cmdlets compared to around 230 in the early days of Windows Server 2008.

More Stories By Yung Chou

Yung Chou is a Technology Evangelist in Microsoft. Within the company, he has had opportunities serving customers in the areas of support account management, technical support, technical sales, and evangelism. Prior to Microsoft, he had established capacities in system programming, application development, consulting services, and IT management. His recent technical focuses have been in virtualization and cloud computing with strong interests in hybrid cloud and emerging enterprise computing architecture. He is a frequent speaker in Microsoft conferences, roadshow, and TechNet events.