The key to successfully migrating to Server Core 2012 R2 from Server 2003 is selecting which workloads to run on Server Core.
The key with Server Core is that you’ll want to do the vast majority of your server administration remotely using either remote connections from the appropriate management console, or using PowerShell. What you want to avoid doing is using a remote desktop session to connect to the computer running Server Core so that you can run a PowerShell or command prompt session. Sure you can do it that way, but it really isn’t the best way to use your time.
The best workloads to run on Server Core are the ones that require minimal intervention when they are up and running. For example, once you’ve got a domain controller up and running, as long as you have other domain controllers, they tend to look after themselves and require little in the way of direct intervention.
File Servers are also pretty “deploy and forget”. The vast majority of file server management tools, including File Server Resource Manager work as well when managing remote servers as they do when managing a local server.
Server Core runs well as a Hyper-V host, but you’ll need to set things up so that you can remotely manage the Hypervisor and the Virtual Machines that are hosted on the computer. If you’re using VMM, Server Core Hyper-V hosts are a no-brainer.
Server Core doesn’t support all Windows Server workloads. In the next part, we’ll look at which Server 2003 workloads you can’t migrate to Server Core.