Looking for .Net and Powershell on Server Core?
Look no further. Quest Software’s Dmitry Sotnikov has got .Net Framework 2.0 and Powershell 1.0 running on Server Core installation of Windows Server 2008. I know this is something a lot of people have been asking for, but the best way to describe my feelings at this moment is ambiguous.
Why it's been left out in the first place
There are reasons Microsoft didn't include the Visual C++ Redistributable Package, the .Net Framework and Powershell in Server Core. I've described these reasons before.
It compromises the small footprint and the lightweightedness of the system. Since 1 GB is the goal for the hard disk footprint the .Net Framework is out of the question. Besides: Server Core is supposed to be the low-maintenance Server Operating System. I don't want it to reboot every second Sunday night of the month to install yet another Hotfix, Rollup, Service Pack or any other newer version of the .Net Framework...
Why this is not a good thing
First, this is an unsupported configuration. Running an unsupported configuration of software components might get you in problems pretty fast. Let's take a look on Jeffrey Snover's point of view:
Just to be clear, this is not a MSFT supported configuration. That does NOT mean that we think it won't work. What it means is that if it doesn't, you have to leverage the community to help you figure it out instead of Microsoft support. [Insert your favorite snarky remark here] :-)
Second, since Dmitri's main focus was to make Powershell running most of the actual .Net Framework functionality is missing. Server Core doesn't offer all the Win32 API's needed all the .Net classes. Powershell indeed runs without errors
Third, making the .Net framework available on Server Core installations of Windows Server 2008 doesn't begin to unlock the potential of the .Net framework. You still can't get ASP.Net running within Internet Information Services (Who's up for that challenge?) and you still can't utilize Server Core in more advanced Infrastructure scenario's, like anExchange Server 2007 Edge Transport server...
Four, there is no indication (at all!) you will actually receive updates for .Net framework on Server Core installations of Windows Server 2008. I don't know the flowchart for the Windows Update processes for Server Core, but I don't expect a check for the installation of the .Net framework. In my opinion the .Net framework is the most cumbersome component of Windows to keep up-to-date... Good luck with that!
Why this is a good thing
Having Powershell on Server Core installations of Windows Server 2008 provides an unified way of managing your Windows systems throughout your complete environment.