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Announcement : Project “Honolulu” Is Generally Available As ” Windows Admin Center “

At the Microsoft Ignite 2017, Microsoft announced the centralized Management platform as Project “Honolulu” and it is now generally available as Windows Admin Center for IT admins. The intention behind introducing this type of product is to provide the modernized, simplified, centralized and secured management experience for IT Administrators who open dozens of consoles in the Windows Operating system environments in terms of management of the services.

Benefits of Windows Admin Center to the IT Administrators

  • Simple and modern management experience
  • Hybrid capabilities
  • Integrated toolset
  • Designed for extensibility

Windows Admin Center is lightweight browser-based GUI toolset which is very much easier to deploy and mange the Windows server and 10 operating systems. This tool can easily be connected to the Physical servers, Virtual Machine running on Hyper-V hypervisors and Azure Cloud environment but completely working without the internet connectivity and cloud dependencies. Microsoft is expecting to extend the 3rd party tool integrations in the future and those vendors can use the same tool to manage their own hardware.

These versions can be manged with Windows Admin Center:

  • Windows Server 2016
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows 10
Download Windows Admin Center

Install Windows Admin Center on Windows Server 2019

You can easily download the Windows Admin Center using the above ” Download ” button and installing is pretty straight forward.

To install the Windows Admin Center just click on the installer

Windows Admin Center : Installer

Accept the End user License agreement to begin the installation

Windows Admin Center : EULA

Set the update checker, in this case I don’t need to check for updates

Windows Admin Center : Updates Check

Provide the permissions to Windows Admin Center to modify the machine’s trusted hosts settings and if you need you can allow it to create a desktop shortcut for the ease of use

Windows Admin Center : Modify Trusted Hosts

Set the server management port and set the SSL certificates, or let it to generate the self-signed SSL certificate.(Certificate will expire in 60 days)

Windows Admin Center : Set the port

It will start the installation

Windows Admin Center : Finish Installation

Open the Windows Admin Center using the desktop icon, otherwise open the internet explorer and type the FQDN and the provided port top open up the management interface

Windows Admin Center : Desktop icon

Provide the user credentials to logging in to the application, in my case I just installed on a standalone server and I did not configured and connected to the Active Directory, so I use local admin credentials to logging in

Windows Admin Center : Logging in

Browser will take you to the Welcome screen and click next to the next slider, or you can skip the Tour

Windows Admin Center : Skip Tour

All the available connections can be seen in the initial screen

Windows Admin Center : Initial screen

Server management interface can be opened up by clicking on the connection

Windows Admin Center : Local Server

How to Add a New Connection To The Windows Admin Center

New server connection can be added using the + Add link and connection type must be selected in the menu appear in the side pannel

Windows Admin Center : New Connection

Provide the Tags and the server FQDN. In my case these are auto generated server names as I’m not using a proper DNS server for this demonstration

Windows Admin Center : Tags and FQDN

Added server will list under the ” All Connections

Windows Admin Center : Added Connection

Remote server details can be seen after click on the server connection link

Windows Admin Center : remote Server

Management Credentials can be changed after adding the remote server, and that can be seen in the ” All Connections ” page. ” Manage As ” option can be used to specify the credentials

Windows Admin Center : Manage As

Windows Admin Center : Change Session Credentials

Remote server roles and almost all the configuration can be done remotely from Windows Admin Center now

Although Windows Admin Center can manage many common scenarios, it does not completely replace all traditional Microsoft Management Console (MMC) tools. For a detailed look at what tools are included with Windows Admin Center, read more about managing servers in our documentation.

Windows Admin Center is complementary to and does not replace RSAT (Remote Server Administration Tools) since roles such as Active Directory, DHCP, DNS, and IIS do not yet have equivalent management capabilities surfaced in Windows Admin Center.”

Windows Admin Center : Remote Server Roles

Gateway access and Azure integration can be done in the Settings

Windows Admin Center : Settings

My Thoughts

I have worked many years as a Windows System Admin and I had to RDP in to lots of servers for all most all the time for do some health checks, install Roles and features, read event logs and many more things. In that perspective I think this is a really great approach for simplifying the administrative tasks and reduce the work overhead for IT administrators.

From The installation Point of view I had not experienced single issue such as installing any binaries or windows updates, etc. Couple of clicks actually completed the installation and was able to launch the Admin interface in few seconds. But I had some issues with Internet explorer, and Chrome gave me a great and faster experience with the Admin interface. Turning on the Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration gave me the faster load of the interface and some loading issues experienced with the turned off of this feature.

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Announcement : Project “Honolulu” Is Generally Available As ” Windows Admin Center “
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Aruna Lakmal

Associate Technical Lead at Pearson, Sri Lanka. Technology junky, enthusiast, a VMware vExpert and a blogger with more than 6 years of Experience in Information Technology more focusing on VMware Virtualization, Microsoft and Datacenter Technologies.

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