Once you get a Server Core box installed and configured with a role, then you need to be able to manage it. The command line tools and remote MMC snap-ins will let you do a lot, but most organizations have standards for antivirus, backup, monitoring, etc that they need to use on all of their servers. So this week I’m going to take a slight detour from discussing configuration and in the box management of Server Core.
To support this, Server Core includes Windows Installer so that agents and tools that are installed using an MSI can be installed on Server Core. This allows many of the management tools that push the installation of their agents to the remote server to be able to remotely install agents on Server Core.
In the case where the agent or tool needs to be manually installed, the command line tool for launching an MSI is:
Msiexec.exe /I <msipackage>
The recommended way is to use any unattend support the MSI has or the /quiet switch. However, most MSIs use pretty basic gui functionality so should display. The biggest area that is unlikely to work is if the MSI allows you to select the location to install and has a browse button. Very often, the browse button will use the browse common dialog box, which isn’t in Server Core because of dependencies.
To help ISVs with Server Core, we have provided some Server Core content and supported API information in the Longhorn Server SDK at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/srvcore/srvcore/portal.asp
In our testing and from what we have heard from beta customers, if the management agent/tool works on Vista or Server and can be remotely managed, it typically works on Server Core.