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Windows Server 2019 – Server Core

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Honey, I shrunk the server! Another chapter, another outdated movie reference. Over the past 20 years or so, we have seen nothing but growth out of the Microsoft operating systems. Growth can be good; new features and enhancements make our lives easier. Growth can also be bad, such as bloated file structures and memory-hogging graphical interfaces. If you were to chronologically graph the Windows and Windows Server operating systems in terms of their footprints, based on factors such as disk-space consumption and memory requirements, it would show a steady upward slope. Every new release requires just a little more processing power, and just a little more hard drive space than the previous version. That was the case until, I’m guesstimating a little bit here, maybe Windows 8 and Server 2012. We saw some surprising steps taken with lowering these threshold numbers, a welcome change. But the change wasn’t too dramatic. I mean, what can you glean from the fact that a new Windows Server 2019 box contains all kinds of core items still running inside C:\Windows\System32? We’re not even going to talk about what’s in the registry. Clearly, there are still cutbacks that could be made, and at some level, new operating systems are still just being built and patched on top of the old ones.

Until now, perhaps. Here, we are going to talk about an alternate way to use Windows Server 2019 on a much, much smaller scale. Server Core has been around for quite some time now, but I’m hard-pressed to find people that actually use it. This miniaturized version of Server 2019 has been built to provide you a smaller, more efficient, and more secure server platform.

We will cover the following topics in this chapter:

  • Why use Server Core?
  • Interfacing with Server Core
  • Windows Admin Center for managing Server Core
  • The Sconfig utility
  • Roles available in Server Core
  • What happened to Nano Server?

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