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Server Core: Less Means More

Posted in General | Virtualization at Friday, October 06, 2006 3:17 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Wow, I'd never even heard of Server Core prior to reading this article today. Server Core is a new version of Windows that is "Windows without Windows" (kind-of, there are still windows, see below).

ServerCore
[Click on image for larger view.]

Server Core has serveral Core roles:

Server Core can only act as a file server, domain controller, DNS server or DHCP server. As such, it's far from being a full-fledged Windows operating system (although Microsoft is considering other roles for future versions). Besides these four core roles, Server Core also supports Cluster Server, Network Load Balancing, the Unix subsystem, the new Windows Backup in Longhorn, Multipath I/O, Removable Storage Management, BitLocker drive encryption and SNMP. Server Core also supports Remote Desktop administration, although you'll only get a command-line window when you connect.

What does this give you? Well for one, a lot less resource requirements:

Cramming Windows into a single gigabyte or less (down from Longhorn's 5GB to 6GB footprint) requires leaving out plenty of elements.

The article doesn't mention the memory usage, but in that screenshot it is only using 194 MB. Imagine what this gives you when you add in Virtual Server. You could easily host all your core infrastucture servers (DNS, Domain Controler, DHCP, etc) on a single host server without having to buy a really expensive host. I think this will be really cool for developers as you could easily add a domain controller that has good performance without needing 5 GB for the drive and 700 MB of memory just to host it.

I'm excited to see that MS is thinking outside the box and going windowless!

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