There are two user experiences available in Windows Server 2019. What you use will be determined by the workload you wish to support as well as your organization’s needs. The Desktop Experience and the Server Core Experience are covered here, along with some advantages and disadvantages of each.
The Windows Server 2019 Product Family
- Standard edition of Windows Server 2019 (Server Core or Desktop Experience)
- Datacenter edition of Windows Server 2019 (Server Core or Desktop Experience)
- The Windows Server 2019 Essentials (Desktop Experience only)
- Hyper-V Server 2019 — (Server Core only)
Server Core is the only Hyper-V Server edition available. As a result, it requires few decisions to make. Everything that is true for Server Core is also true for Hyper-V Server. Essentials, on the other hand, is available only as a Desktop Experience.
A Configuration Choice: Server Core vs. Desktop Experience (GUI)
During installation, the Windows edition and form are chosen. Change the product edition or mode later. Windows Server 2016 Datacenter, for example, may have been installed as Datacenter and later switched to Standard, or vice versa.This is not the case with Windows Server 2019 version. While conversions from Datacenter to Standard are still available, modifications from Server Core to Desktop Experience (GUI) are no longer possible. The Server Core or Desktop Experience is to be chosen once and remains constant throughout the product’s lifetime.
Windows Server – Desktop Experience (GUI)
It is the most well-known and widely used version of Windows Server, having existed (and evolved) since the legendary Windows NT. Of course, Desktop Experience includes a graphical user interface (GUI), making the system more user-friendly and controllable remotely or locally.
Windows Server- Server Core
Server Core is a server environment that has been stripped down to its essential server tasks. Due to the fewer functionality, it has a cheaper maintenance and administrative cost, as well as a smaller attack surface, disk and memory use. If you connect to the console, Server Core gives a much easier interface. A command box appears, asking for your username and password. After you log in, you’ll see the standard C: prompt. You can use this terminal to run typical command-line commands. Alternatively, you can open a PowerShell window by typing powershell.exe. However, the initial configuration used the sconfig utility with a PowerShell script or PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC).
Server Core: Pros and Cons
The Server Core’s conventional advantages include:
- A smaller footprint (lower CPU, RAM, and disk space consumption).
- Fewer vulnerabilities.
- More excellent cyber-attack resistance due to a smaller attack surface and less code.
Server Core ships with a minimal set of components; needs to add more components.
Server Core: Security
Security was a significant motive for building Server Core. Core installs are smaller, containing fewer services and lines of code in general. As a result, Server Core’s ‘attack surface,’ or number of exploitable entry points, is reduced. Disabling unused functionality may reduce your vulnerability to malware assaults and other online dangers – yet it’s crucial to keep in mind that vulnerabilities can still exist on Windows Server Core. Additionally, it is easier to operate due to its smaller footprint, which requires fewer corrections and updates. Fewer restarts will occur, which is crucial when working with servers. Server Core’s aesthetics are not particularly impressive. After the installation is complete, the system boots and prompts the user for a password in an unexpected manner. This is merely a practice session for the actual keyboard strokes that will follow. Server Core is an unfavorable environment: After login in, a command line appears.
On the other hand, remote management remains more challenging and time-consuming with Server Core. The Configure remote management settings page allows you to activate a variety of remote management situations:
- Remote management (a.k.a. PowerShell remoting), Windows Admin Center, and a subset of Microsoft Management Console snap-ins can all be activated or disabled. It is enabled for an authenticated domain network (if the server is connected to an Active Directory domain) or the local subnet (for computers joined into a workgroup).
- By enabling or denying response to ping, this function enables the usage of remote ICMP echo queries (“ping”) to evaluate network connectivity and it unchecked automatically.
Server Core makes it simple to disable Windows Update by setting updates to manual in Sconfig. It is more convenient to work using a graphical user interface. It’s simply a command line that we wish were more plentiful. Additionally, disabling the irritating (but necessary) Windows Update service may be precisely what you’ve been looking for. When you disable Windows Update, the operating system will cease to check for and download updates (which is configurable). Sconfig, for those unfamiliar with Server Core, is a text-based interface that enables you to adjust a few basic Windows settings. The utility will execute via Wscript, which is simply a VB script. Server Core is an excellent example of “doing more with less.” The operating system consumes fewer resources, freeing up resources for the user and applications.
What Server Core Missed
Server Core is missing a “desktop experience,” a Graphical User Interface (GUI) for administering the server locally. This shouldn’t be a problem, correct? Server Core still has a learning curve, and you’ll need to configure the remote administration tool first. As a result of the preceding, Server Core can be “updated” with GUI-based tools that enable it to be managed locally in a user-friendly manner.
It is the most well-known and widely used version of Windows Server, having existed (and evolved) since the legendary Windows NT. Naturally, Desktop Experience includes a graphical user interface (GUI), which significantly improves usability and manageability. The dashboard provides a refreshing alternative to the Server Core command line. This is not to say that either Windows Server edition is straightforward to use or manage. When compared to its more aggressive cousins, command line and PowerShell, Desktop Experience is substantially more intuitive to the human eye.
GUI (Graphical User Interface)
Windows Server 2019 has a graphical user interface that is comparable to that of Windows 10 version 1809. (aka Windows 2019 Enterprise LTSC). In comparison to Windows 10, Windows Server’s default configuration and settings tilt toward security and privacy. By default, Desktop Experience includes a slew of extra features and capabilities. On the one hand, this is useful because it places a more significant number of tasks at one’s fingertips rather than taking multiple steps to execute (as might be the case with Server Core).
On the other side, this method results in a heavier computer that consumes more resources, are slower to respond. And is more vulnerable to cyber-attacks (as the attack surface is broader), due to the added functionality provided by the Desktop Experience, it demands additional fixes and restarts.
The Server Core’s Limitations and Incompatibilities
In general, Windows Server with Desktop Experience can perform all of the operations that Server Core can. However, the designed Server Core was to perform better at the optimized tasks. The converse is not valid. Due to the incompatibility of Server Core with a wide variety of applications and functionalities, it cannot wholly replace Windows Server (with Desktop Experience). The core is incompatible with apps that need a graphical user interface by default.
The Following Programs are Incompatible with Server Core:
- Microsoft Server Virtual Machine Manager 2019 (SCVMM)
- System Center Data Protection Manager 2019
- Sharepoint Server 2019
- Project Server 2019
The following features that Microsoft claims to be incompatible with Server Core. In addition, there’s Windows Search Service and Tiff IFilter for Windows.
Microsoft Windows Admin Center
For instance, installing Windows Admin Center requires first delivering the installation file to Server Core using PowerShell. On the virtual machine’s host and then running the setup file via CMD, this is not tough, but the learning curve will be severe if you are inexperienced with the technique. Server Core, however, does not support a massive number of programs. Google Chrome on a server is almost certainly not a good idea. Even if you wanted to, Server Core would prevent you from doing so. You may, however, wish to run Hyper-V Manager locally, which Server Core does not permit. In comparison, Server Core consumes lower resources and requires fewer upgrades and restarts. Additionally, it is less vulnerable to attack. Plenty of resources will be the reward if you make an effort. The productivity line is subjective.
Server Core provides additional (resources), but it also requires extra effort to manage. Specific applications are not supported on it and hence cannot be installed. As a result, finishing any training becomes significantly more difficult. This means that you need to decide whether you want to install Windows Server 2019 Core Server or Desktop Experience (GUI) before you start installing.
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