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Application Compatibility: Windows Server 2008 Server Core

Feature Impact


Brief Description

Windows Server® 2008 introduces a new concept called Server Core. Server Core is a minimal server installation option for computers running on the Windows Server 2008 operating system. Server Core is available for x86 and x64 (but not Itanium).

Server Core provides a low-maintenance server environment with limited functionality. The server core supports a limited set of roles. Currently, Server Core supports the following roles:

  • DHCP

  • DNS

  • Active Directory Domain Controller (including RODC)

  • Active Directory LDS (formerly ADAM)

  • File server, including:

    • DFSR (formerly FRS)

    • NFS

  • Print Server

  • Media Services

  • Windows Virtualization

  • IIS7 (but with no support for ASP.NET and no remote administration)

Server Core supports the following functionality:

  • WINS

  • Failover clustering

  • Subsystem for UNIX-based applications

  • Backup

  • Multipath IO

  • Removable storage management

  • BitLocker Drive Encryption

  • SNMP

  • Telnet Client

  • (S)NTP

Server Core is remotely manageable via:

  • Terminal Server with a command-prompt shell

  • MMCs for supported components and server roles (for example, Event Viewer and DNS)

  • WS-Management using ShellExecute Beta 2

It also does not support .NET functionality; however, it does support development of management tools, utilities, and agents. Only management-type third-party applications are supported.

Since Server Core is new, it has little impact on current applications. Understanding the limitations of Server Core is imperative to proper implementation for maximum benefit. There is no upgrade path from a down-level version of Windows Server to Server Core; only a clean install is supported. There is also no way to upgrade Server Core to Server with the GUI shell; this upgrade requires a reinstallation.

To determine from the command line if Server Core is running:

WMIC path win32_operatingsystem get OperatingSystemSKU /value

The possible return values are:

12 Datacenter Server Core Edition

13 Standard Server Core Edition

14 Enterprise Server Core Edition

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