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Monday, December 24, 2007

Server Management in Windows.Server.2008 ServerCore

I study for certification exams because it's part of my job and I've always come across interesting facts through the course of my studies and eventually forget them. Now, I have a place to go back to and review them all.

What's to expect in this blog?
-What is Server Core
-Server Management and Maintenance (for the GUI)
-ServerCore Management - What I did


What is ServerCore?

ServerCore (maybe somewhat MinWin in essence) is a minimalistic version of Windows Server 2008 - less the UI, less the annoying and absurd UI at times, and less "that's so easy to do 'coz I saw you do it" thing.

Wouldn't you agree this would be fun?

I'm fancying ServerCore because it's as close as I can get to configuring a router - I'm from the Cisco world and got ported to the Windows galaxy. I'm enjoying so far.

I went to one of Microsoft's exhibits and played around with this new Toshiba laptop that was part of the event - free use of Windows Vista. Instead of clicking with the mouse all day I remembered Vista's new feature - Windows Firewall with Advanced Security, or was that Protection? I'm a frequent listener of TechNet Webcasts.

I spent around 30 minutes and finished playing around with Consec. And was I happy! ^___^

Server Management and Maintenance
(for the GUI)

If we were to manage a gui-type server, we automatically perform tasks on the server that includes optimizing the server, prepping it up, and making it custom-built for our very own production network. Tasks include:

Installing Server Core
Changing the admin password
Configuring networking settings
Setting appropriate Regional settings
Changing video resolution
Adding or removing secure screensavers
Installing programs or adding services
Tinkering with the firewall

...and a lot of other things to do

The above are very common tasks. So, how do we exactly accomplish this in ServerCore?

ServerCore Management - What I did

[Installing ServerCore]
ServerCore installation is pretty straight forward. But if you don't have extra machines, Microsft's Virtual PC 2007 or Virtual Server 2005R2 and VMWare's Workstation 6.0 of VMWare Server will help you out a lot. I'm a fan of VMWare but I'm currently using VPC2007.

But whatever app you've used or method, that would do. (I guess I need to play with WDS later)

But before we go on and talk about the installation part, which I'll be creating two sections of - normal and unattended - let me first walk you through the bit locker prep thing for ServerCore.

BitLocker - Installation Part

In a nutshell, I did the following to one of my ServerCore installations:
  • Choosing "Repair Now"
  • Diskpart-ing
  • create primary partition size=1500
  • assign letter=S
  • active
  • cre pri par
  • assign letter=C
  • exit
  • format both using QUICK

But I really wanted to know if that was how I should do it.


What you'll notice different about the ServerCore install, and that of the full installation is that you can change the password for the default Administrator account. Nice change from Beta3 and RC0.

That's actually it. Pretty easy. But what comes next is something rather perplexing, which I'll cover next after a short break.

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