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Microsoft

Today we announced the general availability of Windows Admin Center, version 1910, the latest version of our reimagined server management experience. If you’re new to Windows Admin Center or it’s been awhile, be sure to catch up on what you’ve missed by reviewing our previous 1904 announcement for full background context on our journey.

 

If you follow our releases on the Windows Insider Program, Windows Admin Center 1910 contains all the features and improvements of the previous monthly preview releases, plus some brand new features being announced at Microsoft Ignite 2019. As a reminder, some extensions and features are marked as “preview” to help differentiate newer functionality and allow for flexibility of ecosystem growth.

 

Download Windows Admin Center 1910 today!

 

Your contributions through user feedback continue to be very important and valuable to us, helping us prioritize and sequence our investments. As you’ll see in the summaries below, many of our new features are a direct result of some of your top requests.
 
There are too many additions to list them all, so here’s a summary of some key new and improved features added to Windows Admin Center since the previous 1904 GA update release…
 

User Experience

  • Add connections: A new entry page for the add connection experience simplifies the process of adding any supported connection type in Windows Admin Center.
Add Connections.png

 

Platform

  • Connectivity settings: Under Settings, Internet Access lets users in completely disconnected environments specify that they are offline so that Windows Admin Center does not try to perform any actions that require internet access.

Internet Access.png

 

  • WinRM over HTTPS: A top user request, you now have the option to choose WinRM over HTTPS (port 5986) as the method of connection to your managed nodes. Optionally select this configuration when installing Windows Admin Center 1910, on the Configure Gateway Endpoint page when running the installer.

Core Tools

  • Virtual machines tool:
    • Import/Export VM – We’ve added Import/Export buttons to the Virtual Machines tool for importing VMs from and exporting VMs to a local volume or remote file share. When importing VMs, you have the option to create a new VM ID, and copy the VM files or use them in-place. You can also rename VMs during the import process if we detect that the VM’s name already exists.
    • VM tagging – Similar to the UI for tagging connections in Windows Admin Center, you can now tag VMs on a Hyper-V server! In the Virtual machines tool’s Inventory tab, an “Edit tags” button has been added to manage tags. These tags are saved on the Hyper-V host server and can be accessed by other admins. VM tags are also supported for Hyper-V clusters.
    • VM live migration – VM live migration is now supported for Hyper-V clusters and standalone servers! You can live migrate a VM from a server or cluster, to a server or cluster in any combination and Windows Admin Center will take care of clustering the role and live migration configuration if necessary.
    • Performance improvements – Significant performance improvements have been made to reduce page load time in the Virtual machines tool.
  • Updates tool: You can now select individual Windows updates to install, a top user request.
  • Overview tool: Windows Admin Center now includes a banner on the Overview tool that notifies you when a reboot is pending on the server/computer being managed.
  • Performance Monitor tool: PerfMon has been part of Windows for over 25 years, and in all those years, it hasn’t changed much. For the first time ever, Microsoft is re-imagining the experience of working with performance counters from scratch. This one deserves its own separate blog post. Read all the details here!

PerfMon-Dark-Theme.png

  • Packet Monitor tool: Packet Monitoring is a new feature that allows you to diagnose your server by capturing and displaying network traffic through the networking stack in a log that is filtered, organized, and easy to follow and manipulate. Currently, only recent SAC versions of Windows Server are supported, but support for Windows Server 2019 is coming soon.
  • IIS tool: A preview release of the IIS tool is now available in the Extensions feed. It provides much of the functionality in IIS Manager to administer and manage your web servers.

Hybrid

  • Azure hybrid services tool: Content now loads from an online feed to ensure the latest available services are always shown.

Azure hybrid services.png

  • Switch accounts: From the Account menu in Settings, you can now switch between multiple Azure accounts.
  • Cost estimates: Azure hybrid integrations within Windows Admin Center now include a hyperlink to Azure, to discover and understand the estimated cost of that service once onboarded.
  • Add Azure VM: Azure VMs are now a top-level connection type. When a server is added this way, it appears in the connections list as “Server (Azure VM)” so you can easily see which of your servers are Azure VMs.
  • Create Azure VM: Azure VMs can now be provisioned directly from within Windows Admin Center.
  • Azure Arc for servers: Leverage Azure policies and solutions to manage your servers. Inventory, organize, and manage on-premises servers from Azure. You can govern servers using Azure policy, control access using RBAC, and enable additional management services from Azure.
  • Azure Security Center: Get unified security management and advanced threat protection with Azure Security Center. Monitor security across hybrid workloads, apply policy to ensure compliance, find and fix vulnerabilities, block malicious activity, detect attacks, and simplify investigation for rapid threat response.
  • Azure File Sync: Sync your file server with the cloud. Centralize file shares in Azure while caching frequently accessed files on your local file servers. The updated version of the Azure File Sync extension now enables end-to-end provisioning and configuration within Windows Admin Center.
  • S2S VPN / Azure Extended Network: Previewing in the Extensions feed, added ability in Gateway Connections extension to setup Site to Site VPN connection between SDN virtual network and Azure virtual network, enabling seamless migration of on-prem applications to Azure without any IP address changes thanks to private IP carryover (extends your SDN virtual network into Azure vNet).
  • Azure Monitor: Windows Admin Center can now onboard Cluster connections to Azure Monitor: To configure Azure Monitor for your cluster, navigate to Settings -> Monitoring Alerts. The onboarding process will help set up the log analytics workspace in Azure and install the appropriate local agents on each server in your cluster to help you collect events and performance counters for analysis, reporting, and alerting.
  • Storage Migration Service: Storage Migration Service helps migrate on-premises file servers to Azure, and upgrade to newer versions of Windows Server in the process. You can now create Azure Virtual Machines on the fly during migration, automatically size them, provision them with formatted storage, and join them to your domain – while allowing you to migrate from legacy operating systems, Samba on Linux, and standalone servers to the latest versions of Windows Server and failover clusters.
  • Storage Replica: You can now use Azure as your secondary site for Storage Replica. Windows Admin Center now supports creating Azure Virtual Machines on the fly during setup of new asynchronous replication partnerships so that Azure can help protect your business from disasters with minimal data loss.
  • Azure Cloud Shell: Cloud Shell is now accessible from within Windows Admin Center via the Extensions feed. Cloud Shell provides a browser-based, authenticated, interactive shell experience to manage your Azure resources. Cloud Shell comes with common command-line tools by default, and any new tools or files that you save will be persisted and available during your next session.

Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI)

  • Deploy Azure Stack HCI: Get the Cluster Creation preview from the Extensions feed to use Windows Admin Center version 1910 to deploy an Azure Stack HCI cluster using two or more suitable Windows Servers. This new feature takes the form of a multi-stage workflow that guides you through installing features, configuring networking, creating the cluster, and deploying Storage Spaces Direct and/or software-defined networking (SDN) – reducing what used to take hours of complex, error-prone PowerShell to something straightforward even for relative newcomers. This feature is in Preview so you can try it early and share your feedback. For details, visit aka.ms/deploy-hci.

Cluster Creation Wizard.png

  • Clustering:
    • Unified connection type - The two separate connection types for hyper-converged clusters and failover clusters have been merged into a single, unified connection type. Clusters can be added as a “Windows Server cluster” and the appropriate tools will be loaded and available, primarily based on whether Storage Spaces Direct is enabled or not. Hyper-converged cluster connections and failover cluster connections added from previous versions of Windows Admin Center will be automatically migrated to the new cluster connection type.
    • New tools – Azure Monitor and Performance Monitor tools for clusters
    • Cluster settings – Rename cluster, node shutdown behavior, cluster traffic encryption, VM load balancing, quorum witness, in-memory cache, and Get-ClusterS2D
  • Hyper-V: All new features described in the Core Tools section above for standalone Hyper-V hosts are also applicable for hyperconverged clusters: Import/Export VMs, VM tagging, VM live migration, and performance improvements.
  • Storage Spaces Direct:
    • Identify noisy VMs - You can now more easily identify which VMs are consuming resources. For example, on the volume page, VMs using that volume are listed under the Related heading, where you can sort by IOPS, IO throughput, and capacity usage. Likewise, on the server page, related VMs and can be sorted by processor, memory, and network usage. There is also bi-directional cross-linking between the pages for servers, volumes, and VMs to streamline navigation.
    • Storage tiers - You can see individual storage tiers (if any) on the volume detail page.
  • Software Defined Networking:
    • FlowLog Audit - Flowlog auditing is a new capability for the SDN firewall in Windows Server 2019. When you enable SDN firewall, any flow processed by SDN firewall rules (ACLs) that have logging enabled gets recorded. These logs can be used for diagnostics or archived for later analysis. With the new “Flowlog Audit” extension in Windows Admin Center, you can easily manage, search and filter the SDN logs for analysis and diagnostics. It can be difficult to gain insights into flow logging data by manually searching the log files. In this extension, you can also upload the log to Azure Blob, then use Power BI to visualize your most recent flow logs and learn about traffic on your network.
    • SDN Load Balancer - Allows users to create LBs that evenly distribute tenant customer network traffic among virtual or physical network resources. The SDN Load balancer enables multiple servers to host the same workload, providing high availability and scalability.
    • SDN Public IP - Public IPs enable inbound and outbound communication between SDN resources and the Internet. Public IP Addresses can be associated with SDN Gateway pools, Internet-facing load balancers, as well as network interfaces.

Ecosystem

The Windows Admin Center ecosystem continues to grow! Dell EMC, HPE, Thomas-Krenn.AG and BiitOps have newly released Windows Admin Center extensions in the past few months.
  • Dell EMC released the Dell EMC OpenManage Integration v1 extension earlier this year in August. The Dell EMC extension provides a dashboard view of hardware component health, component inventory, iDRAC information and update compliance report for servers and Azure Stack HCI solutions.

DellEMC.png

  • HPE released preview versions of the HPE Proliant Server extension and HPE Azure Stack HCI extension today. The HPE Proliant Server extension displays server health and remediation options, server component info and BIOS settings. The Azure Stack HCI extension additionally highlights firmware and driver version inconsistencies between nodes.

HPE.png

  •  Thomas-Krenn.AG released their Azure Stack HCI extension earlier this year in May. This extension provides detailed information on cluster nodes and drives, cluster information and cluster network connectivity.
  • BiitOps extension provides configuration change tracking for on-premises servers and clusters. Easily zoom in and see full details for software and hardware changes made across your servers using the BiitOps extension’s powerful graphical interface.
In addition, the Lenovo XClarity Integrator extension became generally available in August, and DataON, QCT, Pure Storage have also released extension updates recently.
 

Download Today!

We hope you enjoy this latest update of Windows Admin Center, the various new functionality in preview, and all the extensions now available! Learn more and download today!

 

For customers currently using any previous version of Windows Admin Center, please upgrade to version 1910 within 30 days to remain supported under Microsoft’s Modern Lifecycle Policy.

 

As always, thanks for your ongoing support, adoption and feedback! aka.ms/WindowsAdminCenter

 

1 Comment
Occasional Contributor

@Samuel LiWhen is it going to be available on WSUS?