This chapter of our windows server 2012 R2 tutorial is about installing and configuring servers. There are a number of things that needs to be done.

First is planning. This is to guarantee the effectiveness of your servers, then you go through installation levels and end with migrating roles.

You don’t really need, complicated strategies or intricate procedures. The following steps will give you a simple yet detailed discussion to ensure convenience in the whole installation and configuration process.

So first, we will talk about the 8 stages of planning the installation and roles:

  • Planning: Installation & Roles

First, Practice the deployment in virtual machines. You can use VMware and Hyper-V to migrate you physical machine to your virtual machine

After that, Test if the software works, check if there are bugs or anything that will be affected by the upgrades.

Next is to Prepare the Hardware. Make use of MAP or (Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit), preferably version 7.0, this is to identify if your desktop is upgradeable to windows 8 and your servers are upgradeable to windows server 2012 R2. You should also see the minimum requirements for the installation.

It will also be useful to Pre-learn some PowerShell Cmdlets. Cmdlets are considered the heart-and-soul of Windows PowerShell and have a great deal of parameters that you’ll be able to use.

You should also watch out for removed or deprecated items within windows server 2012 R2. There might be changes in services like federation or changes in clustering that are not exactly the same as they were in windows server 2008. You may have third party products that work alongside those types of services or features and they may not work with windows server 2012 R2.

Another things that needs to be done is to make sure that you have a backup plan. So if something goes bad, system restoration would be easier. Moreover, you need to periodically test the restore to see if it really works. This is a basic rule for backup administrators.

It is also wise to have a contingency plan which includes having some other DNS server that you can immediately bring online to serve as a replacement if the original one is faulty.

And lastly, you should Rollout in Stages. Don’t do everything all at once. This applies to people who are experienced in rollouts. You could start with the least significant department or the smallest office so you’ll have the least impact in case something goes wrong.

Then we go to the Installation Levels

There are many ways of installing Windows Server, one is with the:

    • Full Gui (Graphical User Interface)

It has windows explorer, internet explorer, control panel and start menu present in the user interface, among other stuff. It supports full installation of server roles.

The second method is through the:

Windows console or command prompt, this is for the core installation of Windows Server 2012 R2 which is the new default installation method.

This feature was already present in Windows Server 2008, thinking that people don’t usually use the command prompt to log on to servers specially if there are lots of servers involved. Most of the administrative work is usually done remotely, seldom done in the server room. Not unless they’ll do a hardware swap.

In contrast with Windows server 2012’s Full GUI. Server Core only provides you with a minimal installation of Windows Server 2012 that supports only certain server roles. Server Core is a skeleton installation option for computers running the Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system. The installation results in a server environment that is easy to manage and maintain but offers less functionality than more complex options.

So let’s move on to the Advantages of using Core Installation.

      • First and foremost, it has Minimal attack surface. Which means that there’s less of the operating system so there’s much fewer exploits to execute on that operating system. Hackers are able to work their way through some vulnerability in the UI. Without the UI, it really minimizes that possibility.
      • It also has small footprint. Which means that you need a very little disk space for a core installation. Saving you extra space in your drive.
      • And because there’s no UI, you can dramatically increase the reliability of the operating system. Knowing that 90% of the updates coming from Microsoft had something to do with Graphical User Interface.
      • It is also very easy to Manage. You can use different tools like WINRS and WINRM. Which allows you to remotely administer a machine. Also, you can use PowerShell to remotely administer other machines. You may also use server manager from windows 7 or windows 8 computer that has the remote server administration tools installed.

The next installation level is the:

    • Features on Demand in Minimal Server Interface

This reduces the footprint of the operating system. It can reduce either the full GUI installation or the core installation. What it does is it removes the payloads or bits of any unused items.

And lastly, the

    • Minimal Server Interface

It gives you the GUI but it doesn’t give you internet explorer or all the control panel parts, just a subset of them. This reduces the security and servicing footprints of the server which increases the uptime and safety of the server while expanding deployment scenarios.

Now let’s go through the Installation Process:

In your VMware work station, first we will create a virtual machine. You can create one by Clicking Create a New Virtual Machine in your user interface. After that an installation wizard will pop up. Which will let you choose between Typical or Custom installation.

If you’re new to windows server, better to choose the typical installation. But if you want to personally customize your installation, you could choose custom (advanced)

After that, you’ll be asked whether to install from disc or an iso file. In my case, I’m using an ISO file.

Then you’ll be asked for the Windows Product Key. And then you’ll need to select the type of installation that you want. And because I want the installation with the UI, I’d user the standard install. Then fill in the necessary information and click next.

After that you could customize the name of your virtual machine to anything you want.

Then, you’ll be asked for the size of your virtual storage. And whether you’re gonna store as a single file or multiple files. After that, you’ll be asked to finalize your virtual machine.

Here you can also customize the specifications of your virtual machine by clicking customize hardware. Here you can customize the amount of memory allocated for this machine, the number of processors, and the number of cores per processor and the network types.

For my machine, I’ll just allocate 2Gb of memory and 1 processor with 2 cores. For my network connection, I’d use bridged, which is connected directly to the physical network.

If you’re using Custom Install, it is better to use the recommended settings. And now you can finish your installation.

Now let’s proceed to Migrating Roles

You can use windows server 2003, either service pack 2 or r2, or you can migrate from windows server 2008 full edition, or the full edition running r2. Or you could run windows server 2012 full or core. If you have a 2012 computer that runs certain features, you can transfer them to another 2012 computer to either consolidate the roles or decommission the first server. Also, you cannot transfer from windows server 2008 core edition that is non-r2 edition because it doesn’t have the necessary .net framework.

Now let’s discuss Transfer from Physical to Virtual & Vice-versa

If windows server 2008 is running a specific role such as network access protection, which is a way of protecting your network from computers that are likely to be infected with malware of some type, and you had gone through all kinds of configurations, you don’t want to build a new windows 2012 server & recreate all those rules from scratch, you can put them on a virtual machine on windows server 2012. So, in this physical NAP (network access protection) machine server that’s running server 2008, you can transfer all the configurations to a virtual machine. If it’s already in a virtual machine on 2008, you can transfer it to a physical 2012 machine.

But if you have a server that’s installed in an Italian UI and you’re trying to transfer it over to the Japanese UI, it’s not going to work. You can only install a specific language that will be used as the default system language.

You can be an administrator on both machines without having to be a part of the same domain. But you do have administrator credentials to both machines.

There’s also the Powershell Scripts.

With PowerShell scripts, it’s possible to migrate a lot of different things — roles, migrate features, system settings, shares and data.

Now let’s move on to Steps for Migration: (Add or Remove Feature)

Step1: Go to the Dashboard and Click Add roles and features or the other way around go to the upper right part and click Manage then click Add roles and Features well it is the same.

Step2: when you reach the introduction. You want to install Role-based or feature-based installation and can’t choose Remote Desktop Services installation especially when you are not part of the domain.

Step3: Then select a server from the server pool. If you are not connected to any domain inside a network then you only have your own IP Address that serves as your server pool so you can use that one.

Now I’ll teach you how to do a migration using powershell

The first you need to do is to Run Powershell as an Administrator because it requires administrator privileges.

Then you’ll need to enter Install-WindowsFeature Migration. That is if you are installing in a local machine. If you want to install remotely, you need to type Install-WindowsFeature Migration –computername *then the name of the computer*.

The next thing we will need to do is to run command prompt as an administrator. And then run a utility tool called Server Migration Deployment Executable.

First, enter cd ServerMigrationTools. Then enter dir. This is to check if smigdeploy.exe is in the directory.

After that, enter smigdeploy /package /architecture x86 /os WS03 /path \ IP Address

Now, let me explain why I’m using x86. This is because, in this case, we are migrating from a windows server 2003 computer, a 32bit operating system which cannot be upgraded. Now, if you’re migrating from a 64bit computer, then you should type x64. After that, we’ll just need to check if everything is really migrated.

Now, I’m gonna show you the requirements for all of these to work. Especially the requirements for windows server 2003 because you’re gonna need to install the .NET Framework 2.0 with the service package 1. This is before installing powershell 2.0, because if you you’re gonna install powershell 2.0, it’s gonna look for the SP1

The last thing you need to do to make this migration work is to register the migration tools. And for this we need to open a command prompt.

Now the first step is to type cd /mig to redirect to the migration tool directory.

Then enter dir. And then, we’ll need to change to the smt directory that we made earlier.

And lastly, enter the command .smigdeploy.

And that ends out video on installing and configuring servers.

Contact Us

Join over a thousand users and let House of IT help you get started! Get a free quote now!