Storage Spaces Direct on Windows Server Core

How to setup Windows Server Core with Storage Spaces Direct.

Core is a trimmed down version of Windows which has no GUI support. Management of Server Core is accomplished either by command line local to the server, or via GUI utilities from a separate server running Windows GUI.

Install Windows Server Core

can be installed from a DVD,  from a specially prepared USB, or from a Windows WDS PxE server. Refer to Creating a Windows 2016 Installer on a USB Drive for creating a USB Drive installer.

Run the following commands locally on each server, via a local console or connect to the console KVM via the IPMI iKVM facility.

When connecting to Server Core, you will simply see a command line window.

windows server core command line

Log in and then run PowerShell by typing PowerShell from the command prompt.

windows Server Core Power Shell commmand line

Configure Network

Configure enough networks to provide management access.

All of the adapters can be configured now or later when there is more server management utilities configured and available.

Rename Management Adapter

Find the adapter or adapters you will utilize to access the server and optionally rename this adapter to a name easier to identify. This will typically follow your IT naming standards.

Rename the Adapter:

Rename-NetAdapter –Name “Ethernet 3” –NewName “Management”

Display the Interfaces:

Get-NetIPAddress | ft InterfaceAlias,IPAddress,Type,InterfaceIndex
windows Server Core Power Shell commmand line

In the example above, we renamed the “Ethernet 3” adapter to “Management”, which is the network interface used to access and manage the server including joining to the domain and accessing the server via Server Manager and Management (MMC) consoles.

Remember the Interface Index for the Management adapter. In this example, the index is 2.

Configure IP Addresses

Set the IP Address of the Management adapter. Use the InterfaceIndex value from above.

New-NetIPAddress –InterfaceIndex 2 –IPAddress -172.101.4.2 –PrefixLength 16 –DefaultGateway -172.101.4.1

Set the DNS address for the network adapter.

Set-DNSClientServerAddress –InterfaceIndex 2 -ServerAddresses 172.101.4.10

ServerAddress is the DNS server address.

To provide multiple DNS servers, separate the addresses by commas.

windows Server Core Power Shell commmand line

Join Server to Domain

Rename the Server

Run the PowerShell on the local server to rename the server.

Rename-Computer –NewName Node2
windows Server Core Power Shell commmand line

Join the Domain

Using PowerShell on the local server, add it to the domain. In our example we are using the domain “NewCo” and it needs to be replace with your domain name.

Add-Computer -DomainName "NewCo"
windows Server Core Power Shell commmand line

The system will request a login, including the domain.

Restart-Computer

windows Server Core Power Shell commmand line

After the reboot, check the configuration.

The SCONFIG command is convenient for this and several other functions.

From a DOS command prompt, run the command SCONFIG.

sconfig command prompt

In the example above, the system is now renamed and joined to the domain NewCo.

Enable Remote PowerShell

The following command allows remote PowerShell commands from your management servers to the Server Core servers.

Enable-PSRemoting

Info

Enabling remote PowerShell commands could violate your IT security policies and may be disabled at the completion of your configurations.

Configure Firewall Rules

Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "Remote Service Management"

The Remote Service Management group opens a group of management services. These services can be enabled individually for finer security control. These services include:

MMC Snap-inRule Group
Event ViewerRemote Event Log Management
ServicesRemote Service Management
Shared FoldersFile and Printer Sharing
Task SchedulerRemote Scheduled Tasks Management
Reliability and Performance“Performance Logs and Alerts” and “File and Printer Sharing”
Disk ManagementRemote Volume Management
Windows with Advanced SecurityWindows Remote Management

Enable Services

Run the following PowerShell commands on the Server Core system.  These are required by some of the management services.

Set-Service -Name PlugPlay -StartupType Automatic
Start-Service PlugPlay
Set-Service -Name RemoteRegistry -StartupType Automatic
Start-Service RemoteRegistry
Set-Service -Name vds -StartupType Automatic
Start-Service vds

Test Remote Management

Windows Core is managed by remote services such as MMC plug-ins such as Services, Advanced Firewall, Event Viewer and several others, and with Server Manager and PowerShell Remoting. These services have to be run on a server with a GUI, such as a Windows 10 desktop or another server or VM running Windows 2012r2 or Windows 2016.

MMC Plug-in Consoles

  1. Log into a management server with a GUI.
  2. Start an MMC blank console by typing MMC into a PowerShell or DOS command shell.
  3. Add the Computer Management plug-in: File > Add/Remove Snap-in
  4. Select Computer Management Snap-in and click ADD
MMC Plug-in console management server
  1. Select Another Computer and add the computer name or IP address
  2. Click Finish.

You should have an MMC console with a group of Computer Management Snap-Ins.

MMC Plug-in console management server

The Firewall plug-in has to be added separately.  Add this plug-in using the same procedure.

MMC Plug-in console management server

The Firewall GUI for the Server Core is now available.

The Server Core is now exposed to a broad set of MMC management utilities.

Server Manager

Server Manager provides a single pane of glass to manage servers and should be ready to use.

To test this, start Server Manager on your management server.

  1. To connect to a Server Core server:
  2. Select All Servers (right click) Add Servers
Server Core Server Manager

Then add the name of the new server and click “Find Now”.

Server Core Server Manager

Select the server in the window and click on the arrow button.

Server Core Server Manager

And the server is available to manage.

Server Core Server Manager

Right click on the server record and a list of management features are available.

Server Core Server Manager management features

Remote Desktop Connection

Remote Desktop can now be used to connect to the Server Core environment.

Connect to your new core server via Server Manager

Remote Desktop Server Core environment Server Manager

Naturally, this is still a command-line interface.

Remote PowerShell

PowerShell remote commands should also work.

Connect to PowerShell via Server Manager.

PowerShell Server Manager remote commands

Or run commands remotely from your management server. PowerShell remote commands are done via various syntaxes.

PowerShell Server Manager remote commands

The Server Core is now manageable and is ready to be configured for your infrastructure.

7 thoughts on “Storage Spaces Direct on Windows Server Core”

  1. Am I missing something? This article doesn’t cover anything to do with Storage spaces on Server Core…

  2. I think it just enables the tools, remotely, so you can manage storage spaces.. However, I can not connect to my server core machine, using these steps..

  3. Ok it works, to enable remote mgmt. had some network stuff going on. Able to use server manager to see storage spaces info and manage.

  4. I think Storage Space Direct is not supported in Server Core Mode, but Storage Space is supported in Core mode.

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