Windows Server 2016 Core Installation

Since the most powerful enterprise features for Hyper-V are unlocked with the Datacenter edition, this is the version installed for the purposes of these walkthroughs. Before we can dive into Hyper-V, first of all, you need to install the Windows Server 2016 Datacenter Server Core as your operating system (OS) platform. Only then can you install the Hyper-V role.

Let’s get started.

Downloading the Media

If you do not have MSDN or any other login with Microsoft to download Windows Server 2016, you can download an evaluation copy of Windows Server 2016 from the TechNet Evaluation Center. The TechNet evaluation copy is a time-limited 180-day version of Windows Server 2016 intended for trial purposes. You are asked to create an account with Microsoft before downloading the media.

Windows Server 2016 Datacenter Server Core Installation

As mentioned earlier, choosing a different edition of Windows Server or Hyper-V Server results in a different installation process. Hyper-V Server is basically Windows Server Core with the Hyper-V role already installed. Thus, simply installing Hyper-V Server can get you up and running with the hypervisor. However, most enterprises choose to utilize Windows Server Datacenter or Windows Server Standard because of the Windows licensing advantages. In this case, you should install the OS first, then enable the Hyper-V role.

When installing the Windows Server 2016 OS, you have the choice to install the operating system alone, which constitutes a Server Core installation. Server Core is a minimal installation with no graphical interface and no management tools. This is the preferred method for use in a production environment, as opposed to installing the Desktop Experience, which is the normal GUI-enabled Windows Server OS. For the purposes of demonstrating the installation process for a single standalone Hyper-V host, we use the Server Core installation of Windows Server 2016 Datacenter.

Windows Server 2016 Datacenter

The Windows Server 2016 Core installation is performed as any other Windows Server installation. Going through the setup wizard, take the following steps:

  • Accept the license agreement
  • Choose Custom Install
  • Select the target hard drive on which we want to install Windows
  • Proceed with the installation

Once the Windows Server 2016 Datacenter Server Core installation process is complete, you are asked to change the Administrator password.

Change Administrator Password

New Administrator Password

Administrator Password Changed

You have now reached a stage with a CMD prompt and no visible menu. To launch the Server Core configuration utility, simply type sconfig at the command prompt. You are then presented with the Server Configuration menu.

Windows Server Configuration

Best practices dictate that a static IP address should be assigned. To do that, simply launch the network configuration menu by choosing 8) Network Settings. Choose the network adapter you want to configure, then enter the IP Address, subnet mask, and gateway.

Option 2 of the Network Adapter Settings page allows you to Set DNS Servers. After configuring the network settings, you should test network connectivity. You can use option 15, Exit to Command Line. This takes you to the cmd prompt, where you can ping your gateway, DNS server, etc.

Next, you should join a Windows domain and change the computer name. To do this, choose the 1) Domain/Workgroup option. You are asked to supply the credentials of a user who has permissions for your desired domain. After setting the domain and name, reboot.

After the reboot, you have a functioning Windows Server 2016 Datacenter Server Core and are ready to install the Hyper-V server role.

This blog post is the third in a series on how to use Microsoft’s Windows Server 2016 and Hyper-V for virtualization. We start with the basics, then progress to more advanced tasks and functionalities. Next, we show you how to install the Hyper-V Server role. We also discuss initial configuration, including storage provisioning and virtual networking.

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