Understanding Windows Server 2008 Server Core
A Server Core installation provides a minimal environment for running specific server roles, which reduces the maintenance and management requirements and the attack surface for those server roles. A server running a Server Core installation supports the following server roles:
Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS)
Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS)
Streaming Media Services
Windows Virtualization (Hyper-V)
Benefits of a Server Core installation
The Server Core installation option of Windows Server 2008 provides the following benefits:
Because the Server Core installation option installs only what is required to have a manageable server for the AD DS, AD LDS, DHCP Server, DNS Server, File Services, Print Services, and Streaming Media Services roles, less maintenance is required than on a full installation of Windows Server 2008.
Reduced attack surface:
Because Server Core installations are minimal, there are fewer applications running on the server, which decreases the attack surface.
Because fewer applications and services are installed on a server running the Server Core installation, there is less to manage.
Less disk space required:
A Server Core installation requires only about 1 gigabyte (GB) of disk space to install and approximately 2 GB for operations after the installation.
Lower risk of bugs:
Reducing the amount of code can help reduce the amount of bugs.