Slava Murygin walks through running SQL Server on Windows Server core. First, the steps for installing SQL Server at the command line:
There are three reasons why Windows Server with Core is better than Server with a GUI:
1. Security: Core has less features. That means less surface for intruders to attack.
2. Management: No unnecessary updates and planned reboots.
3. Resource consumption: Less memory usage and less CPU overhead
Even if you aren’t using Windows Server Core, it’s a good idea to be able to script out your SQL Server installation so you can automate it later (or at least so you don’t forget options and have some servers look different than others).
Second, Slava notes that certain features are not compatible with Windows Server core:
The following error occurred:
You have selected a feature that is not supported on Windows Server Core.
The supported features on Windows Server Core are:
Database Engine Services,
SQL Server Replication,
Full-Text and Semantic Extractions for Search,
Client Tools Connectivity,
and SQL Client Connectivity SDK.
That list is a bit more limiting than I’d like, to be honest.