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Windows Server 2008 Core Installation

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March 11, 2008 2:25:55 PM

Windows 2008 Server can be installed for only specific server roles to reduce resource requirements. And the installation can be done in a command prompt-like environment, almost totally without any use of windows.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/03/11/windows_server_2008_core_installation/index.html
March 11, 2008 5:57:32 PM

Woohoo... all those days spent configuring Wing Commander on a 386 might finally start paying off. Also... notepad? We don't need no stinking notepad. Hardcore is using "copy con" to make your files. :) 
March 11, 2008 6:52:54 PM

Well well...
What should one call a Command Line Core Server that runs it's commands in a graphical command line window? :ouch: 
Command Line Core Server Emulation? :heink: 

I'll stick to Linux as before...

A server is just a black box that doesn't need a graphical interface of any kind. Just merely a text I/O or a connected terminal somewhere in the room/house/world... and that's it! Windows is just something that makes me able to launch my games. No more or less.
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March 12, 2008 12:15:07 AM

One thing not mentioned in the article is that Core Server was probably created to optimize servers that are run in virtual machines.

Since a VM will typically be running only one service, there is no need to have the overhead from other services.

And since a "golden" VM is created once and easily replicated, the expertise needed to create the first one is amortized over the number being deployed.

Furthermore, I think a full Server 2008 license will allow any number of these Core Server VMs to run without extra licenses.

March 12, 2008 12:48:45 AM

As Milleman pointed out, if you're gonna run command line, you may as well run Linux. In this arena Linux will win all the time. Why? Simply because it's command line has been improved nearly constantly since it was developed. Windows' on the other hand was all but forsaken when we got to the era XP, and most people didn't look back once.

Personally, I like that how easy it is to manage Windows server (windows, not console) compared to the Linux variants. The graphically-driven functions make it quite easy for an experimenter (read new to the sysadmin trade) who didn't grow up with DOS to get into it. Also don't forget the ease of installation on nearly (if not) all consumer-level hardware, making cost of entry quite low as well. With the (possible) exception of the hardware compatibility, all that ease is thrown out the window, and the Windows server deficiencies become all the more apparent.
March 12, 2008 7:17:40 PM

Wow, Windows Server is almost like...Linux!

Add Cygwin to the system, and you can have a system very much like Linux at 23 times the cost, and with half the speed!

Brilliant!

How long until they start offering binary compatibility with Linux? :) 

ttyl
Farrell
March 13, 2008 8:20:13 AM

I wonder if the console installation can make a VERY lean footprint?
Such as, I read someplace the core is only like 25 MEGS! This is near Linux (yes/no)?
I hope this kind of console installation can be used to create super-lean installs of Vista Business for example that can run off the eee PC.
As for the IIS-installation, that is insane! I feel this can be MUCH simplified, even in a console environment. SO! does a console installation mean there can not be ANY visual interface, such as a text-only menu system like used on a BIOS setup (64 kb text application)? VI/PICO text editor (for example) is an ultra old-tech UNIX app.

Anyway, despite the problems, I think this is a step in the right direction and I will like to see better contol of installations of other versions of Vista.
March 13, 2008 10:10:31 AM

I went to Tech-Ed in Orlando and the huge push behind "Longhorn" is virtualization. It isn't meant to be a command line server at all. It's meant to be bare bones to allow for as little resources as possible being used by the native OS to allow for more virtual servers to run simultaniously, thus allowing lower hardware costs.
March 13, 2008 10:40:38 AM

"The term "core" is used here to indicate clearly what this Server is all about: an installation of the core components that provide a minimal environment for running specific server roles."

21,614 files and 16,080 folders is the minimum - that's CRAZY!!
March 13, 2008 12:18:34 PM

LORD_ORION said:
Woohoo... all those days spent configuring Wing Commander on a 386 might finally start paying off. Also... notepad? We don't need no stinking notepad. Hardcore is using "copy con" to make your files. :) 


LOL... Wing Commander was easy... getting 604k of available RAM for Falcon 3.0... that was the real bitch.
March 13, 2008 5:33:59 PM

lol microsoft
reinventing the whell.
this is just like linux, but worst
March 13, 2008 6:22:05 PM

How is it even close to linux? I think you are missing the point that MS isn't trying to force a command line OS on anyone. While you can use it that way if you so choose, the point is to allow for virtualization allowing enterprise level networks with say 50,000 plus users the ability to cut hardware costs by using one physical server to host multiple non-critical services. IE services outside of AD and Exchange.
March 13, 2008 7:23:21 PM

"In particular, the Core Installation is a worthwhile alternative for servers that are past their prime, but still
suitable for specific tasks."


I really want to install a $700 operating system on my pentium 4 / toaster oven so the HR department can incessantly toss email jokes to the intra-office email while managing to wipe the drool off their chin. :sleep: 

In some cases if you have a large number of enterprise installations you could write scripts for different types of installs. Then, setup any number of those servers with mostly undattended installs. Or, just make copies of your virtual servers and handle the licensing issues. I like the steps toward virtualization. It makes it easier for complete backups without the need for expensive specialty software to backup raided systems. Especially, if you are like me, in a hurricane riddled location not far from New Orleans with tons of HIPAA/Healthcare data that needs to be up and running 24 x 7 for patient care. Bye bye hurricane! <escapes the floodwaters with his galoches on and his virtual servers backed up in his Commodore 64 lunchbox>
March 13, 2008 8:56:40 PM

rodney_ws said:
LOL... Wing Commander was easy... getting 604k of available RAM for Falcon 3.0... that was the real bitch.



QEMM! FTW.
March 13, 2008 8:58:47 PM

paulpod said:
One thing not mentioned in the article is that Core Server was probably created to optimize servers that are run in virtual machines.

Since a VM will typically be running only one service, there is no need to have the overhead from other services.

And since a "golden" VM is created once and easily replicated, the expertise needed to create the first one is amortized over the number being deployed.

Furthermore, I think a full Server 2008 license will allow any number of these Core Server VMs to run without extra licenses.


That brings up a few questions. When the installation was being demonstrated in the article, on the setup part asking where you want to install server 2008, a physical disk was shown, as well as icons labeled "Extend", "Add Driver" and "New". I wonder if that means booting to a SAN (iSCSI Target) will be an easy possibility.

Also, what's with the command-line registration over the internet? Egads. The article did not mention the commanline setup of a proxy server.

a b B Homebuilt system
March 13, 2008 9:32:11 PM

If you plan on running Sever 2008 Core, you might as well run Linux, unless you need aps that require Windows to run.
March 14, 2008 6:49:25 AM

Shadow703793 said:
If you plan on running Sever 2008 Core, you might as well run Linux, unless you need aps that require Windows to run.


This is a true statement but in the corporate world of I.T. Windows makes up the bulk of server side OS because of the ease of finding administrators and the AD structure is already widely in place. Which makes Linux a bad choice because it creates additional costs above and beyond a normal tech refresh.
March 14, 2008 5:15:07 PM

On the contrary...
Today you're often not taken seriously if you tell techs that you're about to setup a server environment based on Windows servers. If your administrator don't know anything about Linux/Unix structure-environment, then you made a bad choice. Today even a grandfather knows how to setup a working Linux server.
March 14, 2008 5:17:16 PM

Milleman said:
On the contrary...
Today you're often not taken seriously if you tell techs that you're about to setup a server environment based on Windows servers. If your administrator don't know anything about Linux/Unix structure-environment, then you made a bad choice. Today even a grandfather knows how to setup a working Linux server.



This is so not a true statement. Maybe it's true for the environment you work in.
March 16, 2008 8:29:33 PM

Milleman said:
On the contrary...
Today you're often not taken seriously if you tell techs that you're about to setup a server environment based on Windows servers. If your administrator don't know anything about Linux/Unix structure-environment, then you made a bad choice. Today even a grandfather knows how to setup a working Linux server.


Maybe were you work but more then 70% of x86 installations at my work are windows. At least 75% of those are VM and this will be a great benefit to us.

Also as somebody else pointed out, 99% you will have scripted server installation if you are deploying more 5 servers (i.e. the market that the core installation is aimed at) so command line setup issues become less of an issue.
March 17, 2008 12:26:23 AM

boonality said:
I went to Tech-Ed in Orlando and the huge push behind "Longhorn" is virtualization. It isn't meant to be a command line server at all. It's meant to be bare bones to allow for as little resources as possible being used by the native OS to allow for more virtual servers to run simultaniously, thus allowing lower hardware costs.


It can never compete with ESX or Xen which were written from ground up as a bare metal virtualisation O/S. Once MS realise this and produce an OS from scratch purely for hosting VM and put the right management tools around it then they have got no chance. Were W2K8 Core scores for me is as a guest O/S inside of a VM.
March 17, 2008 6:42:51 AM

oneman said:
It can never compete with ESX or Xen which were written from ground up as a bare metal virtualisation O/S. Once MS realise this and produce an OS from scratch purely for hosting VM and put the right management tools around it then they have got no chance. Were W2K8 Core scores for me is as a guest O/S inside of a VM.


This is only true if you have a multi platform environment. In my case, we are dictated by contracts, vendor bids, standardization, and politics.

We only run solaris/unix on certain specific systems. everything else is done with windows server.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 18, 2008 2:10:10 PM

Shadow703793 said:
If you plan on running Sever 2008 Core, you might as well run Linux, unless you need aps that require Windows to run.


Riiiiiight ... Exchange, SQL, Sharepoint to name some ...
March 19, 2008 12:50:33 PM

That's strange... removing the GUI was supposedly a way to reduce attack surface and resources overhead in a server accessed from a distance. And now I see a system that not only ha a GUI, but a windowed one, with COMMAND PROMPTS in said windows!

That's walking on your head! the reason people use the command line to configure a server is because it allows easy, secure and fast access to a remote computer (something this system doesn't allow, since you need to use Terminal Server, serving a GUI containing emulated terminals), but also because a 'core' OS shouldn't have to serve data to the graphical hardware when it's not in use!

Let's see: a working Linux kernel is 3-5 Mb in RAM; add init and bash (I won't go into the BusyBox domain), you have a 'core' OS fitting in less than Mb. Now, add Samba (for ActiveDirectoy): 8 Mb more, loading from (compressed) disk image of less than 20 Mb. There, you've equaled Windows Server 2008 Core, its 200 Mb of RAM and 5 Gb of disk space.

Now, add a capable text editor: vim or emacs, or a text-based GUI: Midnight Commander. Any of these make notepad look ridiculous; editing config files through vim or emacs, with syntax highlighting, makes the MMC clunky and awkward to use.

Add a MySQL or Oracle or PostGreSQL server, Apache 2 + PHP, and hatever extra service you need, and you have a multirole server you can access through a tunneled, SSH encrypted, terminal window as if you were working right on it. Footprint is less than a Gb (make that, less than 300 Mb on an uncompressed file system).

And last, you can even install an X client on the server, and connect to it from a distance without hardware overhead on the server - because it's your local machine's X server that accesses your local hardware (and when the session stops, whatever 'graphical' stuff the server has loaded, is unloaded: graphical driver included).

So, while GNU/Linux, xBSD and Solaris allow minimal OS overhead on any server and any way you may use to access it, Windows Server 2008 has graphical overhead over the kernel, and adds terminal emulation on top of a graphical overhead.

Walking on your head seems to be a Microsoft motto these days.
!