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2008/2008 R2--Server Core

The Server Core installation option is an option that you can use for installing Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2. A Server Core installation provides a minimal environment for running specific server roles, which reduces the maintenance and management requirements and the attack surface for those server roles. A server running a Server Core installation of Windows Server 2008 supports the following server roles:

§ Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS)
§ Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS)
§ DHCP Server
§ DNS Server
§ File Services
§ Hyper-V
§ Print Services
§ Streaming Media Services
§ Web Server (IIS)

A server running a Server Core installation of Windows Server 2008 R2 supports the following server roles:

§ 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)

A Server Core installation does not include the traditional full graphical user interface. Once you have configured the server, you can manage it locally at a command prompt or remotely using a Terminal Server connection. You can also manage the server remotely using the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) or command-line tools that support remote use.
Benefits of a Server Core installation

The Server Core installation option of Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 provides the following benefits:

§ Reduced maintenance. Because the Server Core installation option installs only what is required to have a manageable server for the supported roles, less maintenance is required than on a full installation of Windows Server 2008.

§ Reduced attack surface. Because Server Core installations are minimal, there are fewer applications running on the server, which decreases the attack surface.

§ Reduced management. Because fewer applications and services are installed on a server running the Server Core installation, there is less to manage.

§ Less disk space required. A Server Core installation requires only about 3.5 gigabytes (GB) of disk space to install and approximately 3 GB for operations after the installation.

How do you promote a Server Core to DC

In order to install Active Directory DS on your server core machine you will need to perform the following tasks:
1. Configure an unattend text file, containing the instructions for the DCPROMO process. In this example you will create an additional DC for a domain called pilot.local:
2. Configure the right server core settings
After that you need to make sure the core machine is properly configured.
1. Perform any configuration setting that you require (tasks such as changing computer name, changing and configure IP address, subnet mask, default gateway, DNS address, firewall settings, configuring remote desktop and so on).
2. After changing the required server configuration, make sure that for the task of creating it as a DC – you have the following requirements in place:
§ A partition formatted with NTFS (you should, it’s a server…)
§ A network interface card, configure properly with the right driver
§ A network cable plugged in
§ The right IP address, subnet mask, default gateway
And most importantly, do not forget:
§ The right DNS setting, in most cases, pointing to an existing internal DNS in your corporate network

3. Copy the unattend file to the server core machine
Now you need to copy the unattend file from wherever you’ve stored it. You can run it from a network location but I prefer to have it locally on the core machine. You can use the NET USE command on server core to map to a network path and copy the file to the local drive. You can also use a regular server/workstation to graphically access the core’s C$ drive (for example) and copy the file to that location.

4. Run the DCPROMO process
Next you need to manually run DCPROMO. To run the Active Directory Domain Services Installation Wizard in unattended mode, use the following command at a command prompt:
Dcpromo /unattend

Reboot the machine
In order to reboot the server core machine type the following text in the command prompt and press Enter.
shutdown /r /t 0

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