Windows Server 2016 Core Installation

Since the true enterprise features for Hyper-V are unlocked with the Datacenter edition, this is the version we will be installing. Before we get to the point of installing the Hyper-V role, we have to install Windows Server 2016 Datacenter Server Core as our OS platform and then install the role.

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 is a time limited 180-day copy of Windows Server 2016. You will be asked to create an account with Microsoft to download the media. The link for the TechNet Evaluation Center copy of Windows Server 2016 can be found here.

Windows Server 2016 Datacenter Server Core Installation

As mentioned earlier, choosing the edition of Windows Server or Hyper-V Server will change the installation process. Hyper-V Server is basically Windows Server Core with the Hyper-V role already installed, so simply installing Hyper-V server will have you up and running with the hypervisor. However, if you choose to utilize Windows Server Datacenter or Windows Server Standard, which will be the choice of most enterprises to utilize the advantages for Windows licensing, the process will involve installing the operating system first, then enabling the Hyper-V role.

Also, to be considered – when installing the Windows Server 2016 OS, you have the choice to install either the operating system alone which will be a Server Core installation. Server Core is a minimal installation with no graphical interface and no management tools. This is the preferred method to use in a production environment as opposed to choosing to install Desktop Experience which installs the normal GUI enabled Windows Server operating system. For the purposes of showing the installation process of a single standalone Hyper-V host, we will 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. We will choose the following options:

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

After the initial installation of Windows Server 2016 Datacenter Server Core, we will first be asked to change the Administrator password.

Change Administrator Password New Administrator Password Administrator Password Changed

We will finally come up to a CMD prompt with no visible menu. To launch the Server Core configuration utility, simply type sconfig at the command prompt. We will then be presented with the Server Configuration menu.

Windows Server Configuration

We will want to set up our network configuration as we need to assign a static IP address for best practice. To do that, simply choose 8) Network Settings to launch the network configuration settings. We will choose the network adapter we want to configure, enter the IP Address, subnet mask, and gateway.

Option 2 of the Network Adapter Settings page allows us also to Set DNS Servers. After configuring the network settings, it is a good idea to test network connectivity with ping. To do this, you can use option 15) Exit to Command Line which will take you out to the cmd prompt where you can ping your gateway, DNS server, etc.

The next thing we will want to do is join a Windows domain and change the computer name. To do this we can choose the 1) Domain/Workgroup which will also allow us to change the computer name and then reboot. You will be asked to supply the credentials of a user who has permissions to join the desired domain.

After a reboot of the Windows Server 2016 Server core OS to rename the computer and join the domain, we will have a functioning Windows Server 2016 Datacenter Server Core server ready to install the Hyper-V server role. In the next post, we will take a look at installing the Hyper-V Server role, remote management, initial configuration of the Hyper-V server including provisioning storage as well as setting up the Virtual networking required for VM communication to the physical network.