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Microsoft's updated Server Core promises better private clouds, fewer reboots

One of the most limiting aspects of Server Core on Windows Server 2008 R2 was that there was no way to get from a minimal server option to a full install of the server software. Windows Server 8 intends to answer that problem and hopefully drive down private cloud storage costs.

Microsoft Windows Server partner program manager David Cross outlined some of the benefits of the Server Core installation over the full GUI in a blog post on the Windows Server Blog.

It’s a shift in position for Microsoft: not only is the company rapidly improving the minimal server interface, it recommends admins deploy that option, instead of the GUI-based installation in which the company has long invested.

By using Server Core, “we not only accomplish considerable space savings, reducing storage costs, but we also minimize the attack surface area, thereby also increasing security and reliability,” Cross said.

In the past, it would have been difficult to make a case to adopt it, because there just weren’t enough features. Cross says there are four additional roles over its predecessor, plus the new and improved PowerShell v3 that boasts over 2,300 cmdlets. More importantly, users can easily switch between the two installations.

Cross also highlighted how patching will be different in Windows Server 8. Users can select only to install critical updates, which Cross noted could mean a stretch of 26 months without a reboot. Considering users on GUI systems might be rebooting every month, this is a big difference.

Will you be rushing to use Server Core and the minimal user interface? Let us know what you think in the comments, or on Twitter @WindowsTT.

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