Server Core: Best Practice for Applications on Windows Server

Posted: May 07, 2010  7 comments  

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DNS
Hyper-V
IIS
Windows Server 2008 R2

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I have been talking with a number of customers, CSOs, CIOs and industry professionals over the past few weeks and I realized that the availability and benefits of using the Server Core option of Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 was not as widely known as I think it should be.  Windows Server Core provides a minimal installation environment for running specific server roles, which reduces the maintenance and management requirements and the attack surface for those server roles.  The following roles are supported in Windows Server 2008 R2:

  • Active Directory Certificate Services
  • Active Directory Domain Services
  • Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS)
  • DHCP Server
  • DNS Server
  • File Services (including File Server Resource Manager)
  • Hyper-V
  • Print and Document Services
  • Streaming Media Services
  • Web Server (including a subset of ASP.NET)

Over time, the number of reboots for patching or security updates is significantly reduced for a Server Core installation of which the benefits are obvious.  In some cases, customers can see up to a 60% reduction in patch requirements and the number of reboots on a monthly basis.  Over time, more roles and configurations will support Server Core and is already a best practice in many enterprise environments.  Many line of business and third party applications support running on a Server Core installation – not just the in-box roles of Windows Server above.

For more information and background on the capabilities of Server Core in Windows Server 2008 R2, see our TechEd presentation from last year or to get started with a Server Core installation now, see our downloadable guide.

David B. Cross

Director of Program Management

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