Benefits of Deploying Windows Server 2012 R2 Core Installation

CANITPRO Camps are currently under development for the upcoming 2014 season with a new batch of content revolving around the Microsoft Server 2012 R2 goodness released back in October.  The camp content is currently being tested, however we at CANITPRO thought it would be prudent to share a topic that has sparked some interest when mentioned in the trial run of the camps itself. Namely the benefits of deploying Windows Server 2012 R2 core installation.
Deploying the server core installation of Windows Server 2012 R2 seems to strike fear in the hearts of IT Professionals even at just the mention of the deployment tactic.  Common excuses surrounding the deployment of core include:

  1. If I move my servers to "server core" I will never be able to get my GUI back.
  2. I wouldn't know where to start should my server core installation experience a meltdown.
  3. I'm too busy to learn how to manage a "server core" installation.
  4. I don't know how to script in PowerShell.

Many IT Professionals live by the "If its not broke, don't fix it" methodology, however there are a great deal of benefits in deploying server core.  The benefits include:

  1. Security Enhancements
    Windows Server core provides a reduced attack surface which in essence means less to attack.  With GUI enabled applications who sometimes have security holes or make IT administrators constantly worry about 0-day attacks are not present, this inherently strengthens the Windows Server 2012 R2 server core deployment's security.
  2. Resource Conservation
    Removed of its GUI, Windows Server 2012 R2 loads only key roles and features needed to deliver critical services such as Active Directory, DHCP, DNS, Hyper-V and File Services.  With applications such as Internet Explorer, Windows defender and other memory intensive applications not installed, far less overhead is needed.  Minimal System RAM and CPU requirements are required coupled with a measly 4GB of disk space for a core installation allowing system resources to be better served for more critical utilizations such as virtualization.
  3. Switchable Interface
    Some applications will require the GUI interface to be installed on Windows Server 2012 R2. Not to fret however as there is a Step-By-Step available that will walk you through re-enabling the GUI interface.

In terms of PowerShell utilization, with the recent upgrade to PowerShell 4.0 available and resources such as the Microsoft Virtual Academy, the robustness of a server core installation is but a mouse click away.