Today I needed a testing machine for an ASP.NET MVC application that I am building, so I started up the Hyper-V server and created a new virtual machine. When it came to choosing the version of Server 2008 R2 to install, I saw the option for “Windows Web Server (Core Edition)” and thought, “Brilliant! A nice, light-weight version of Windows Server that won’t eat too much RAM from the Host server” and, unlike the 2008 Core Editions, 2008 R2 Core Editions support .NET and ASP.NET (albeit a cut-down version).
And this is where things went down-hill. As it turns out, SQL Server 2008 is not supported on the Core Editions. Nor is the SQL 2008 R2 CTP supported either. This is *very* surprising as I can’t imagine anything in SQL Server that would require a UI (other than the management console – but that can be installed on another computer); and it also seemed logical that any version of “Windows Web Server” should be able to support a proper, database-driven web application.
The weirdest thing is that, with a bit of a workaround, you can get SQL Server working on Server 2008 Core Edition – so it looks like its just an installer\support issue rather than a technical one – hopefully SQL 2008 R2 will actually support Core Editions when it RTM’s (There is already an item on Connect asking for SQL to support Core editions).
Update: Looks like SQL Server “Denali” can be installed on Windows Server Core (2008 R2 SP1 and above)