What’s behind the Server Core technologies introduced in Windows Longhorn Server Operating System?

 


Server Core technology is a new installation introduced by Microsoft in its next generation of Operating System. Server Core runs only a command shell so that you can administer all the roles supported by servers from command line tools. Windows has been designed on modular architecture meaning its components and services are designed in a procedural way. They have small set of procedures created and these procedures were combined to make a complete Windows System.


 


Basically there are two shell supported by Windows – one is Command Line Shell (CMD.exe) and other one is GUI shell (explorer.exe). The main reasons to segregate these two shells are the following:


 


1.      You have better control on Windows


2.      Other or third party shells can be introduced and configured to run at the time of starting Windows.


3.      You can run third party or production applications without displaying Desktop to users.


 


After looking at Server Core technologies of Longhorn I assume that Microsoft has only replaced CMD.exe with Explorer.exe in registry at HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon in entry: Shell in the Right Pane. I’m really not sure about this one but when you replace Explorer.exe with CMD.exe, Windows launches CMD.exe (Command Prompt) rather than Desktop. This really confuses me sometimes – Has Microsoft only changed the entry in the registry to make it Server Core or they have done something more in it? I really don’t have answer to this and need to dig more.


 


Well, as far as I know, the Server Core technologies or installation makes Windows more secure. This eliminates the hacking and Server is not exposed to hacking anymore now. Server Core runs minimal codes and this gives less access to system thus providing a more secure platform.


 


I’m still waiting for someone to answer the following questions:


 


1.      What is so different about Server Core in Longhorn?


2.      Has Microsoft only replaced Shell entry in registry to make it Server Core or they have done something more?


3.      All the services and drivers are started before shell execution. This is already designed since Windows XP released then what’s new in Server Core part.


 

Server Core – Windows Longhorn

What is Server Core in Windows Longhorn?


Well, what do you mean by Server Core? A Server Core is a part in where you can have only least functionality of the server operating system. This is the first time Microsoft has introduced this technology. Server Core feature in Longhorn run the minimal  code to support a component service in Windows Operating System such as : DHCP, DNS, File Server etc.


You can have a specific feature run in minimal code without exploiting whole OS code. This is possible by running the Windows Longhorn (Microsoft’s Next generation Operating System) in Server Core installation.


This is all about disabling unwanted services in Microsoft Windows Operating Systems (Longhorn). They have done a tremendous job,


I will shout more on this when time permits :)


Okay..time permits me:


 


Windows Longhorn’s new Server Core installation is going to make unhappy administrators who totally depend on GUI tools because Server Core installation and administration is totally dependent on Command lines – yes I’m right – Command lines.


Microsoft has decided to include Server Core in final release of its new operating system (Windows Longhorn Server). Beta 2 had only five roles and Beta 3 includes three new roles: AD, AD LDS, DHCP, DNS, File, Print, and WMS (AD LDS and WMS are new to Beta 3).


It will support more roles in its final release. There will be total of 8 roles to be supported by Windows Longhorn Server.


What’s in Server Core?


Server Core installation is very simple. You just need to proceed with Server Longhorn and select “Windows Longhorn ServerCore” when installing Longhorn product. There are total of Top 9 features supported by Longhorn Server. These are the followings: 


  1. Role-based installation and administration.
  2. Windows Firewall
  3. Windows PowerShell
  4. Server Manager
  5. Server Core
  6. BitLocker
  7. Read Only Domain Controller
  8. Terminal Services
  9. Network Access Protection

Windows Longhorn Server supports total of 18 role-based installations:


  1. Active Directory Certificate Services.
  2. Active Directory Domain Services.
  3. Active Directory Federation Services.
  4. Directory Lightweight Directory Services.
  5. Active Directory Rights Management Services.
  6. Application Server.
  7. DHCP Server.
  8. DNS Server.
  9. Fax Server.
  10. File Services.
  11. Network Policy and Access Services.
  12. Print Server.
  13. Terminal Services.
  14. UDDI Services.
  15. Web Server.
  16. Windows Deployment Services.
  17. Windows Media Services.
  18. Windows SharePoint Services.
  19. Windows Server Virtualization.

Microsoft BackOffice / Small Business Server Timeline

 


Server Suite Release Date Version



BackOffice 1.0 Dec-94 1.00
BackOffice 1.5 Dec-95 1.50
BackOffice 2.0 Apr-96 2.00
BackOffice 2.5 Dec-96 2.50
BackOffice Small Business Server 4.0 Oct-97 4.00
BackOffice Server 4.0 Dec-97 4.00
BackOffice Server 4.5 Jan-99 4.50
BackOffice Small Business Server 4.5 May-99 4.50
BackOffice Server 2000 Feb-01 2000.00
Small Business Server 2000 Feb-01 2000.00
Windows Small Business Server 2003 Oct-03 2003.00
Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Jun-06 2003 R2



BackOffice Small Business Server with Product List  



BackOffice 1.0 Dec-94
           Windows NT Server 3.5
3.50
           SQL Server 4.21a
4.21a
           SNA Server 2.1 
2.10
           SMS 1.0
1.00
           Mail Server 3.2
3.20
BackOffice 1.5 Dec-95
           Windows NT Server 3.5
3.50
           SQL Server 6.0
6.00
           SNA Server 2.11
2.11
           SMS 1.1
1.10
           Mail Server 3.5
3.50
BackOffice 2.0 Apr-96
           Windows NT Server 3.51
3.51
           SQL Server 6.0 or 6.5
6.00
           SNA Server 2.11
2.11
           SMS 1.1
1.10
           Exchange Server 4.0
4.00
           IIS 1.0
1.00
BackOffice 2.5 Dec-96
           Windows NT Server 4.0
4.00
           SQL Server 6.5
6.50
           SNA Server 3.0
3.00
           SMS 1.2
1.20
           Exchange Server 4.0
4.00
           IIS 2.0
2.00
           Proxy Server 1.0
1.00
           Index Server 1.1
1.10
           Internet Explorer 3.01
3.01
           FrontPage 1.1
1.10
BackOffice 4.0 Dec-97
           Windows NT Server 4.0
4.00
           SQL Server 6.5
6.50
           SNA Server 4.0
4.00
           SMS 1.2
1.20
           Exchange Server 5.5
5.50
           IIS 4.0
4.00
           Proxy Server 2.0
2.00
           Index Server 2.0
2.00
           Transaction Server 2.0
2.00
           FrontPage 98
98.00
           Visual InterDev 1.0
1.00
BackOffice 4.5 Jan-99
           Windows NT Server 4.0 SP4
4.00
           SQL Server 7.0
7.00
           SNA Server 4.0
4.00
           SMS 2.0
2.00
           Exchange Server 5.5
5.50
           IIS 4.0
4.00
           Proxy Server 2.0
2.00
           Index Server 2.0
2.00
           Transaction Server 2.0
2.00
           FrontPage 2000
2000.00
           Visual InterDev 6.0
6.00
           Internet Explorer 5.0
5.00
BackOffice Server 2000 Feb-01
           Windows 2000 Server
2000.00
           SQL Server 2000
2000.00
           Host Integration Server 2000
2000.00
           SMS 2.0
2.00
           Exchange Server 2000
2000.00
           ISA Server 2000
2000.00
BackOffice Small Business Server 4.0 – 25 CAL Oct-97
           Windows NT 4.0 SP3
4.00
           Exchange Server 5.0 SP1
5.00
           IIS 3.0
3.00
           SQL Server 6.5 SP3
6.50
           Proxy Server 2.0
2.00
           Internet Explorer 3.02 or 4.01
4.01
           Outlook 97; 25 client licenses
97.00
BackOffice Small Business Server 4.5 – 50 CAL May-99
           Windows NT 4.0 SP4
4.00
           Exchange Server 5.5 SP2
5.50
           IIS 4.0
4.00
           SQL Server 7.0
7.00
           Proxy Server 2.0
2.00
           Internet Explorer 5.0
5.00
           Outlook 2000, and FrontPage 2000; 50 CAL
2000.00
           FrontPage 2000; 50 CAL
2000.00
Small Business Server 2000 Feb-01
           Windows 2000 Server
2000.00
           Exchange 2000 Server
2000.00
           IIS 5.0
5.00
           SQL Server 2000
2000.00
           Internet Explorer 5.0
5.00
           Outlook 2000
2000.00
           FrontPage 2000; 50 CAL
2000.00
           ISA Server 2000
2000.00
Small Business Server 2003 – 75 CAL Oct-03
           Windows Server 2003
2003.00
           Exchange Server 2003
2003.00
           Microsoft Outlook 2003
2003.00
           Windows SharePoint Services

           Microsoft SQL Server 2000 (Optional)
2000.00
           ISA Server 2000
2000.00
           FrontPage 2003; 75 CAL
2003.00
Small Business Server 2003 R2 (Two Editions) – 75 CAL Jul-06
           Windows Server 2003
2003.00
           Exchange Server 2003
2003.00
           Microsoft Outlook 2003
2003.00
           Windows SharePoint Services

           Microsoft SQL Server 2005 (Optional)
2005.00
           ISA Server 2004
2004.00
           FrontPage 2003 (Premium Edition) 75 CAL
2003.00