Windows Server

Windows Server 2008 : Perform Role and Feature Management

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10/29/2010 6:59:46 PM
Before performing the steps of role and feature installation, it’s a good idea to get a better grasp of the many different options you actually have at your disposal. Unlike the roles that are allowed through Server Core , there is a great deal more you can do with a fully functional Windows Server 2008 system.


A simple question you might be asking is “What is the difference between a server role and a server feature?” A role, according to Microsoft, “describes the primary function of the server.” So, for example, configuring your server to act as a DNS server involves installing that role. On the other hand, a feature might “provide auxiliary or supporting functions” within a system. An example of a feature is the .NET Framework.

Know Your Server Roles

Table 1 lists the Server Roles shown in Figure 1 (in the Add Roles Wizard) and their descriptions.

Table 1. Server Roles
Active Directory Certificate Services (AD CS)Used to create certification authorities and related role services that allow you to issue and manage certificates used in a variety of applications.
Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS)Stores information about objects on the network and makes this information available to users and network administrators. Uses domain controllers to give network users access to permitted resources anywhere on the network through a single logon process.
Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS)Provides simplified, secure identity federation and Web single sign-on (SSO) capabilities. Includes the Federation Service, which enables browser-based Web SSO, a Federation Service proxy to customize the client access experience and protect internal resources, and Web agents to provide federated users with access to internally hosted applications.
Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS)Provides a store for application-specific data, for directory-enabled applications that do not require the infrastructure of AD DS. Multiple instances of AD LDS can exist on a single server, and each can have its own schema.
Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS)Helps you protect information from unauthorized use. AD RMS establishes the identity of users and provides authorized users with licenses for protected information.
Application ServerProvides central management and hosting of high-performance distributed business applications, such as those built with Enterprise Services and .NET Framework 3.0.
DHCP ServerEnables you to centrally configure, manage, and provide temporary IP addresses and related information for client computers.
DNS ServerProvides name resolution for TCP/IP networks. DNS Server is easier to manage when installed on the same server as AD DS. Installing AD DS allows you to install and configure DNS Server to work together with AD DS.
Fax ServerSends and receives faxes and allows you to manage fax resources, such as jobs, settings, reports, and fax devices, on this computer or the network.
File ServicesProvides technologies that help you manage storage, enable file replication, manage shared folders, ensure fast file searching, and enable access for UNIX client computers.
Hyper-VProvides the services you need to create and manage virtual machines and corresponding resources.
Network Policy and Access ServicesProvides Network Policy Server (NPS), Routing and Remote Access Services (RRAS), Health Registration Authority (HRA), and Host Credential Authorization Protocol (HCAP), which help safeguard the health and security of your network.
Print ServicesEnables you to share printers on a network, as well as to centralize print server and network printer management tasks. It also enables you to migrate print servers and deploy printer connections, using Group Policy.
Terminal ServicesEnables users to access Windows-based programs that are installed on a terminal server or to access the full Windows desktop. With Terminal Services, users can access a terminal server from within your corporate network or from the Internet.
UDDI ServicesProvides Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) capabilities for sharing information about web services within an organization’s intranet or between business partners on an extranet.
Web Server (IIS)Provides a reliable, manageable, and scalable web application infrastructure.
Windows Deployment ServicesProvides a simplified, secure means of rapidly and remotely deploying Windows operating systems to computers over the network.

[*] Descriptions adapted from the Windows Server 2008 Wizard Descriptions.


Figure 1. The Add Roles Wizard.

Within a role, role services may be involved as sub-elements. In addition, some roles require that specific features also be installed. For example, the Application Server role notifies you that the .NET Framework 3.0 feature is required in order for the role to function.

When attempting to install a role that requires additional necessary services and features, you are greeted with the option Add Required Role Services, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. A request for permission to install necessary services and/or features for a role to function.

However, the majority of the time, you can install a role with selected services and return later to configure additional ones. Nowhere, perhaps, is this better seen than with regard to your IIS Web Server role. You may choose certain services, such as ASP.NET, HTTP Redirection, and so forth, but you can always return later and add role services. As you can see in Figure 3, you can view the health of all roles installed by selecting Roles from the navigation pane and then you can see which services are included within a particular role. You can choose the option Add Role Services or Remove Role Services to make changes to a role (in this case, the Web Server role).

Figure 3. A look at services installed from within Server Manager.

Know Your Server Features

As mentioned earlier, server features (shown in Figure 4) provide supporting functionality to a role (as in the case of .NET Framework 3.0) or may stand alone (for example, PowerShell). Table 2 describes the features you can install on a server.

Table 2. Server Features
.NET Framework 3.0 FeaturesCombines the power of the .NET Framework 2.0 APIs with new technologies for building applications that offer appealing user interfaces, protect your customers’ personal identity information, enable seamless and secure communication, and provide the ability to model a range of business processes.
BitLocker Drive EncryptionHelps to protect data on lost, stolen, or inappropriately decommissioned computers by encrypting the entire volume and checking the integrity of early boot components. Data is decrypted only if those components are successfully verified and the encrypted drive is located in the original computer. Integrity checking requires a compatible trusted platform module (TPM).
BITS Server ExtensionsAllows a server to receive files uploaded by clients using BITS. BITS allows client computers to transfer files in the foreground or background asynchronously, preserve the responsiveness of other network applications, and resume file transfer after network failures and computer restarts.
Connection Manager Administration KitGenerates Connection Manager profiles.
Desktop ExperienceIncludes features of Windows Vista, such as Windows Media Player, desktop themes, and photo management. Desktop Experience does not enable any of the Windows Vista features by default; you must manually enable them.
Failover ClusteringAllows multiple servers to work together to provide high availability of services and applications. Failover Clustering is often used for file and print services, database, and mail applications.
Group Policy ManagementA scriptable MMC snap-in that provides a single administrative tool for managing Group Policy across an enterprise. Group Policy Management is the standard tool for managing Group Policy.
Internet Printing ClientEnables clients to use Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) to connect and print to printers on the network or Internet.
Internet Storage Name Server (iSNS)Provides discovery services for Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI) storage area networks. iSNS processes registration requests, deregistration requests, and queries from iSNS clients.
LPR Port MonitorEnables the computer to print to printers that are shared, using any Line Printer Daemon (LPD) service. (LPD service is commonly used by UNIX-based computers and printer-sharing devices.)
Message QueuingProvides guaranteed message delivery, efficient routing, security, and priority-based messaging between applications. Message Queuing also accommodates message delivery between applications that run on different operating systems, use dissimilar network infrastructures, are temporarily offline, or are running at different times.
Multipath I/OAlong with the Microsoft Device Specific Module (DSM) or a third-party DSM, provides support for using multiple data paths to a storage device on Windows.
Network Load Balancing (NLB)Distributes traffic across several servers, using the TCP/IP networking protocol. NLB is particularly useful for ensuring that stateless applications, such as a web server running IIS, are scalable by adding additional servers as the load increases.
Peer Name Resolution Protocol (PNRP)Allows applications to register on and resolve names from your computer, so other computers can communicate with these applications.
Quality Windows Audio Video Experience (qWave)Acts as a networking platform for audio and video (AV) streaming applications on IP home networks. qWave enhances AV streaming performance and reliability by ensuring network quality-of-service for AV applications. It provides admission control, runtime monitoring and enforcement, application feedback, and traffic prioritization. On Windows Server platforms, qWave provides only rate-of-flow and prioritization services.
Remote AssistanceEnables you (or a support person) to offer assistance to users who have computer issues or questions. Remote Assistance allows you to view and share control of the user’s desktop in order to troubleshoot and fix issues. Users can also ask for help from friends or coworkers through Remote Assistance.
Remote Differential CompressionComputes and transfers the differences between two objects over a network, using minimal bandwidth.
Remote Server Administration ToolIncludes snap-ins and command-line tools for remotely managing roles and features. Note that there is a collection of tools to choose from; you have to expand the list and select what you like unless you enable all of them.
Removable Storage Manager (RSM)Manages and catalogs removable media and operates automated removable media devices.
RPC over HTTP ProxyRelays RPC traffic from client applications over HTTP to the server as an alternative to clients accessing the server over a VPN connection.
Simple TCP/IP ServicesSupports the following TCP/IP services: Character Generator, Daytime, Discard, Echo, and Quote of the Day. Simple TCP/IP Services is provided for backward compatibility and should not be installed unless it is required.
SMTP ServerSupports the transfer of e-mail messages between e-mail systems.
SNMP ServicesIncludes the SNMP Service and SNMP WMI Provider.
Storage Manager for SANsHelps you create and manage logical unit numbers (LUNs) on Fibre Channel and iSCSI disk drive subsystems that support Virtual Disk Service (VDS).
Subsystem for UNIX-based ApplicationsAlong with a package of support utilities available for download from the Microsoft website, enables you to run UNIX-based programs and compile and run custom UNIX-based applications in the Windows environment.
Telnet ClientUses the Telnet protocol to connect to a remote telnet server and run applications on that server.
Telnet ServerAllows remote users to perform command-line administration and run programs using a Telnet client, including UNIX-based clients.
TFTP ClientIs used to read files from, or write files to, a remote TFTP server. TFTP is primarily used by embedded devices or systems that retrieve firmware or configuration information or a system image during the boot process from a TFTP server.
Windows Internal DatabaseActs as a relational data store that can be used only by Windows roles and features, such as UDDI Services, Active Directory Rights Management Services, Windows Server Update Services, and Windows System Resource Manager.
Windows PowerShellIs a command-line shell and scripting language that helps IT professionals achieve greater productivity. It provides a new administrator-focused scripting language and more than 130 standard command-line tools to enable easier system administration and accelerated automation.
Windows Process Activation ServiceGeneralizes the IIS process model, removing the dependency on HTTP. All the features of IIS that were previously available only to HTTP applications are now available to applications hosting Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) services, using non-HTTP protocols. IIS 7.0 also uses Windows Process Application Service for message-based activation over HTTP.
Windows Server Backup FeaturesAllow you to back up and recover your operating system, applications, and data. You can schedule backups to run once a day or more often, and you can protect the entire server or specific volumes.
Windows System Resource ManagerCan control how CPU and memory resources are allocated. Managing resource allocation improves system performance and reduces the risk that applications, services, or processes will interfere with each other to reduce server efficiency and system response.
WINS ServerProvides a distributed database for registering and querying dynamic mappings of NetBIOS names for computers and groups used on the network. WINS maps NetBIOS names to IP addresses and solves the problems arising from NetBIOS name resolution in routed environments.
Wireless LAN ServiceConfigures and starts the WLAN AutoConfig service, regardless of whether the computer has any wireless adapters. WLAN AutoConfig enumerates wireless adapters and manages both wireless connections and the wireless profiles that contain the settings required to configure a wireless client to connect to a wireless network.

[*] Descriptions adapted from the Windows Server 2008 Wizard Descriptions.


Figure 4. The Add Features Wizard.

Install Roles

The process of installing a role or feature varies, depending on exactly what you are installing. In addition, the wizards allow you to select multiple roles/features. The number of variables involved in installing roles is too great to use to provide a step-by-step solution. Therefore, let’s look at installing one role and one feature to show the basic process and provide a basis for other possibilities.

To install roles perform the following:

Open Server Manager.

Select the Roles link from the navigation pane.

Under the Roles Summary portion in the work console, select the link Add Roles.

The first time you add a role, you are greeted with a Before You Begin dialog. Select the checkbox Skip This Page by Default now, or you will continue to see this page every time you add a role. Click Next.

On the Select Server Roles Page, select one or more roles to install on this server. In this scenario, select Application Server. Click Next.


When you select a role, you may see the pattern on the left change to include the role and role services.

On the Application Server page, read the Introduction to Application Server. Note other aspects of the installation of this particular role under the Things to Note section and/or view Additional Information by selecting one of the links provided, as shown in Figure 5. Click Next.

Figure 5. The Application Server introduction.

On the Select Role Services page, choose additional services that relate to the installation of the role. In this case, as you can see in Figure 6, there are many services you can add that are not necessarily required. Choose the ones you want and click Next.

Figure 6. Selecting role services.

On the Confirmation page, review the roles, role services, and/or features you have selected. When you are comfortable moving forward, click Install.

Note the Progress of the installation on the Installation Progress. When you see the Installation Results page, click Close.

Remove Roles

To remove a role, follow these steps:

Return to Server Manager, select the Roles link from the navigation pane, and then select the Remove Roles link under Roles Summary from the work console. The Remove Roles Wizard begins, with a Before You Begin page.

Either read this page or select Skip This Page by Default for future visits to this wizard. Click Next.

On the Remove Server Roles page, deselect the roles that are already installed. Click Next.

On the Confirm Removal Selections page, make sure this is truly what you want to do and click Remove.

Note the progress of the removal, and on the Results page, look for confirmation of the removal of that role. Click Close.

Administer Roles Through Server Manager

The Server Manager may (or may not) be the perfect place to administer your installed role. Some like to use the individual tools from Administrative Tools, whereas others may like a single console for administering all roles at once.

To administer roles through Server Manager, you expand the Roles section in the navigation pane and look for the role you want to manage. From the hierarchy, you can select the expansion link for the role to see the corresponding tools.


When you select a particular role, you see a summary of that role, including events that relate to that role. You might find this more helpful than going to Event Viewer directly because it narrows down the result to match the role you are looking into. You can also quickly see the system services that relate to your role and see if they are running (or you can stop/restart those services) directly from the Roles Summary.

Install Features

To add features to your Windows Server 2008 system, perform the following steps:

Open Server Manager.

Select the Features link in the navigation pane.

Under the Features Summary portion in the work console, click the link Add Features.

From the Select Features page, choose any of the many available features. (You might note that some are already installed and perhaps you don’t remember installing them, but remember that certain roles may install features as well.) When you’re done choosing features, click Next.

On the Confirm Installation Selections page, confirm your selection and then click Install.

Note the progress of your installation. When the Results screen appears, click Close.


To remove a feature, you can select the Remove Features option from the Features Summary and follow the wizard.

Not all features can be managed through the Server Manager console because they do not all come with additional tools for management. For example, PowerShell and the .NET Framework do not have management consoles that you can work within Server Manager.

Other -----------------
- Windows Server 2008 : Use Initial Configuration Tasks
- Windows Server 2008 : Install and Configure the File Services Role
- Configure IPv6 in Windows Server 2008
- Windows Server 2008 : Install and Configure the DHCP Server Role
- Windows Server 2008 : Install and Configure the DNS Server Role
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Storage
- Windows Server 2008 : The Windows Deployment Service
- Windows Server 2008 : Publishing Applications with TS RemoteApp
- Windows Server 2008 : Deploying Terminal Services Gateway
- Windows Server 2008 : Managing Terminal Services User Connections
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Terminal Services Clients
- Windows Server 2008 Server Core : Configuring the Command Window
- Windows Server 2008 Server Core : The Command Line Made Easy
- Windows Server 2008 Server Core : Accessing DLLs Using the RunDLL32 Utility
- Windows Server 2008 Server Core : Configuring the Server for Initial Use
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Terminal Services (part 3)
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Terminal Services (part 2)
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Terminal Services (part 1)
- Windows Server 2008 : Deploying a Terminal Server (part 2) - Specifying NLA Settings
- Windows Server 2008 : Deploying a Terminal Server (part 1)
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