Server Core in Windows Server 2012

The Windows Server blog introduced many of the changes we have made for Windows Server 2012 for Server Core, the new Minimal Server Interface, and Features on Demand in this posting: http://blogs.technet.com/b/windowsserver/archive/2012/03/20/building-an-optimized-private-cloud-using-windows-server-8-server-core.aspx. We will be using the Server Core blog to discuss all of these in more depth and welcome you to post any comments and questions you might have regarding these changes.

Today I’m going to start by discussing some of the ways you can take advantage of the ability to move between Server Core and Server with a GUI in Windows Server 2012.

Changing server requirements – If you have deployed Server Core and then there is a change in what needs to run on the server that requires either Minimal Server Interface or Server with a GUI you can now convert up without having to reinstall and rebuild the server.

Troubleshooting or configuration – If there are any issues that you need to trouble shoot or configuration changes you want to make and find it easier to do either with the local GUI tools, you can convert to either Minimal Server Interface or Server with a GUI.

Initial configuration – You can install Server with a GUI, configure the server as desired for your environment, and then convert to Server Core for production and get all the servicing and reboot reduction benefits of Server Core.

Single master image – With the ability to switch between Server Core and Server with a GUI you can create a single master image for deployment. Once installed on a new server it can then be converted to Server Core if that is the planned  configuration for the server. There is no longer a need to create and maintain two Windows Server images.

For steps on how to convert between Server Core and Server with a GUI, see the Installation Options topic for the beta release: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831786.aspx We’ll cover the ways to convert in more detail in a future posting, as well as Minimal Server Interface, and Features on Demand.