The Server Core option is a minimal installation option that is available when you are deploying a Windows Server. It installs a command-line administration-only version of Windows Server that supports installing many server roles and features. It can be easy managed locally and remotely by PowerShell commands and/or remotely using graphical user interface tools included in Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT).
In this article: Benefits of Server Core | Roles and Features supported | Non-Usage Scenarios
Benefits of Server Core
- Greater stability
Server Core installation has fewer running processes and services than a Full installation, the overall stability of Server Core is greater.
- Simplified management
There are fewer things to manage on a Server Core installation, it’s easier to configure and support a Server Core installation than a Full one.
- Reduced maintenance
Server Core has fewer binaries than a Full installation, fewer hot fixes and security updates need to be applied to a Server Core installation.
- Reduced memory and disk requirements
A Server Core installation on x86 architecture, with no roles or optional components installed and running at idle, has a memory footprint of about 180 megabytes (MB), compared to about 310 MB for a similarly equipped Full installation of the same edition. Disk space needs differ even more—a base Server Core installation needs only about 1.6 gigabytes (GB) of disk space compared to 7.6 GB for an equivalent Full installation.
- Reduced attack surface
Server Core has fewer system services running on it than a Full installation does, there’s less attack surface. This means that a Server Core installation is more secure than a similarly configured Full installation.
Performances of a Server Core installation and a Full installation are about equal if they are both running identical roles, because most of the elements that are part of a Full installation are idle unless a user is logged onto the server.
Roles and Features supported
You can install many roles and features on a server core server and administer them remotely.
To see a list of the roles and features that are available, run the following cmdlets:
|Server 2012 Core by PowerShell||
|Server 2008 R2 Core CMD shell||
Server Core can’t be used as a platform for running server applications such as Exchange Server, Microsoft SQL Server, SharePoint Server or third-party server applications .
Applications without dependency on the GUI can be installed onto Server Core, for example:
- Antivirus agents
- Backup agents
- System management agents