Windows Admin Center version 2009 is now generally available!

Published Sep 22 2020 08:04 AM 81.5K Views
Microsoft

Today we announce the general availability of Windows Admin Center version 2009, the latest version of our reimagined server management experience. Windows Admin Center continues to be extremely popular with millions of servers managed every day. Based on your feedback, we are continuously making it better and building on our core tools while introducing unique new features. By popular demand, we are also expanding Windows Admin Center to manage related platforms.

 

In this release, we have made improvements across the product with new support for Azure Kubernetes Service on Azure Stack HCI. Note that this release is pronounced as “twenty oh-nine” in regard to this year and month, and not in reference to the year 2009.

 

Download Windows Admin Center v2009 today!

 

New features and updates

 

Windows Admin Center supports Azure Kubernetes Service on Azure Stack HCI

Today we announced Azure Kubernetes Service on Azure Stack HCI, a new way for customers to set up Kubernetes and deploy Kubernetes clusters on their Azure Stack HCI environments.

 

To find out more about Azure Kubernetes Service on Azure Stack HCI or sign up for the public preview, check out the blog post for more details.

 

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Windows Admin Center: Now available in the Azure Portal

 

Windows Admin Center, your favorite server management tool, is now available in preview on Azure. Check out this blog post to learn more and sign up for the private preview.

 

What's new in Windows Admin Center v2009

 

Core management tools

 

Virtual machine management

The tool is one of our most used extensions, and we see this metric increasing with our support for Azure Stack HCI. We are working hard to bring in new features and improvements to this tool. We hope you enjoy. Here are a few highlights:

 

  • Modified VM dropdown for easier navigation - No more searching through a long list!
  • Live storage migration - Finally, Admin Center supports live storage migration of your virtual machines. Look for it under Manage > Move.
  • Affinity/Anti-Affinity rules - Are you running an Azure Stack HCI cluster? Manage your virtual machines Affinity rules using a new section under VM settings or Hyper-V host settings. 
  • Connect using Windows Admin Center - Manage any virtual machine using the native Windows Admin Center tools. Look for it under Connect > Use Windows Admin Center.
  • Join a domain - Easily join a domain with a simple UI right from within the Virtual Machine tool. Find it under Manage > Domain Join.
  • Clone a VM – Windows Admin Center brings in an optimized VM clone experience that significantly reduces user effort, time, and engagement needed for the process. Find it under Manage > Clone.
  • Minor performance improvements

 

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To learn more about virtual machine management using Windows Admin Center, check out https://aka.ms/ManageVMwithWAC to watch a short video.

 

This tool is under active development and we will continuously be pushing new updates through the extensions feed! Let us know what new features you are looking for through User Voice.

 

Improved File Shares tool

The SMB file server is the most used role in Windows Server and gets continuous feature development but has not had a Windows Admin Center update in years. That changes now with the release of the revamped “File and file shares” extension with the following improvements:

 

  • New location – the original File Shares tool is now a part of the Files extension. We bet many of you never found it in the past!
  • New landing page look – The grid of all SMB Shares now shows useful information around local and UNC paths, number of connected clients, encryption, offline files, and other details.
  • New share creation & editing workflow – creating shares now adds helpful folder browsing, Active Directory and local security browsing, plus security, offline files, and advanced options.
  • New global settings page – changing file server security no longer requires PowerShell! You can now control encryption, signing, and even detect and uninstall SMB1.

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Containers tool

In this release, we also have a new version of the Containers tool available on our public feed. Install the latest version in your extension manager today and check out these new features:

 

  • Install Containers feature + Docker— If the extension is enabled and the host is not a properly configured container host, the extension will now offer the option to install the Containers feature on Windows Server, install Docker, restart the server and start the Docker service right after.
  • Common images to pull— We now list the most common used Windows base container images and have it ready to be pulled with no need to type the image name and tag.
  • Disabling extension functionality for Kubernetes nodes— If the targeted server is part of a Kubernetes cluster, the Containers extension will have destructive operations (such as stopping a container) disabled. This will ensure WAC does not interfere with Kubernetes deployments, while still allowing users to use the extension to create new container images.

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Check out the blog post from the Windows Containers team to learn more about the new functionality.

 

User experience

 

New look

Windows Admin Center has some new color! We hope you like our new top navigation bar color and the design changes we have made to make Windows Admin Center look more modern. Windows Admin Center has historically been tied to Windows Server, but now it has become its own independent product. While the license terms have been updated, this does not affect your usage of Windows Admin Center in any way.

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Bug fixes and accessibility improvements

  • Various bug fixes: Bugs have been fixes across the product and more fixes will continue coming through our extension feed over the next few months.
  • Accessibility fixes: Accessibility continues to play a crucial role throughout the product. This release is our most accessible version of Admin Center ever. If you have any questions or concerns, please email us at wacchat@microsoft.com.

 

Azure Stack HCI management

 

Software Defined Networking

The Windows Admin Center cluster deployment workflow now supports Software Defined Networking (SDN) deployment. We are introducing a new capability that will allow users to provision the Network Controller component of SDN deployment. SDN will be part of Stage 5 of our cluster deployment flow (Add > Cluster > Create New), wherein all required parameters for SDN will be validated and deployed. SDN deployment is optional and users can skip Stage 5.

 

Unfamiliar with Software Defined Networking? The Windows Admin Center workflow makes it easy to get started for novice users! Check it out today.

 

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Cluster deployment workflow

New exclude/include functionality – The cluster creation tool now allows users to choose and include or exclude adapters for cluster networking. It allows users to bring in hardware with additional USB NICs or specialized NICs that are purposed for management or BMC connectivity, but still be able to run through cluster creation by explicitly excluding them in the networking stage.

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Improvements to Cluster-Aware Updates (CAU)

Hardware updates – We now have hardware updates integrated as part of Microsoft Windows Updates. Currently this is just a placeholder. Our OEM partners are working actively to get hardware specific snap-ins that would be available in an integrated manner to keep the clusters always up to date.

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Partner Ecosystem

Our Windows Admin Center partners have been hard at work developing new extensions to enhance your Windows Admin Center experience. In the short time since our last release, our partners Dell and HPE have released three completely new extensions. Additionally, updates have been made to several extensions from Dell, HPE, DataON, and QCT.

 

Dell PowerPath

The Dell EMC PowerPath extension is now generally available. Dell EMC PowerPath is a host-based multipathing software that ensures consistent application availability and performance across I/O paths on physical and virtual platforms. Dell EMC PowerPath with Microsoft Windows Admin Center enables users to manage Dell EMC PowerPath servers as hosts. It simplifies the tasks of IT administrators by remotely managing the Dell EMC PowerPath servers throughout their lifecycle.

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HPE OneView

The HPE OneView extension for Windows Admin Center is now in preview. The HPE OneView extension provides server inventory with health status monitoring, firmware and driver monitoring, as well as network inventory management of HPE ProLiant and Synergy servers. This extension uses HPE OneView as the data provider.  The Windows Admin Center server must have connectivity to HPE OneView. This extension is available for ProLiant and Synergy Gen8, Gen9, and Gen10 servers.

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HPE Storage Manager

The HPE Storage Extension is now in preview. The HPE Storage Extensions include both the HPE Storage connection and HPE Storage tool extension. The HPE Storage connection enables configuration of the HPE Primera and HPE 3PAR Storage systems, while the HPE Storage tool extension enables management for HPE Primera and HPE 3PAR storage under Windows Admin Center. The preview edition, HPE Storage Extension 1.0 includes the monitoring features such as general system health, physical and logical inventory view, and performance metrics in terms of total IOPS, bandwidth, and latency.

This extension supports the following storage systems:

  • HPE Primera – all OS versions including 4.2.0
  • HPE 3PAR OS 3.3.1 MU5

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Updated partner extensions

In addition to the new partner extensions that have been released in the past few months, several of our partners have updated their existing extensions:

 

  • Dell EMC OpenManage – The latest version includes compatibility updates for the latest version of Windows Admin Center.
  • HPE Server and Azure Stack HCI— HPE has made many improvements to this extension with their latest version, including support for Gen10 and Gen10 Plus servers as well as Azure Stack HCI cluster models.
  • DataON MUST— In the latest build of this extension, DataON has extended the Azure Stack HCI solution monitoring and management experience and fully integrated with Azure Monitor and Azure Analytics for a true hybrid cloud management experience.
  • QCT Management Suite— QCT has added support for the QuataMesh T4048-IX8D and QuataMesh T7032-IX7D in their latest build.

 

Known Issues

 

Azure Stack HCI cluster creation

The SDN phase of the cluster creation workflow will take a long time to complete (~1 hour or more). Often it depends on the Hyper-V host configuration and available free space. As SDN gets deployed, there are additional SDN logs created on the Hyper-V hosts at C:\Users\<user>\Documents\SDNExpress-<date>-<timestamp>.log that help you keep track of the deployment process.

 

Refer to the new WAC SDN guide for more information.

 

In addition, the ability to utilize the SDN controller to connect a virtual machine to a logical network and apply Access Control Lists (ACLs) for micro-segmentation is not yet available and planned for an upcoming update through the extension feed.  In the meantime, you can connect virtual machines to a virtual switch without applying SDN policy, or you can perform the optional steps to enable virtual networking, software load balancing and/or gateways.

 

Logging into Azure

In this release, you may run into issues logging into Azure or registering your Windows Admin Center gateway with Azure. The guidance below should help you mitigate these issues:

 

  • Before using any Azure capabilities within Windows Admin Center, including gateway registration, make sure you are signed into your Azure account in a different tab or window. We suggest signing in through the Azure Portal.
  • If you successfully sign into Azure during gateway registration but do not see visual confirmation on the Azure page of your Windows Admin Center Settings, try navigating to a different page in settings before navigating back to the Azure page.
  • The Azure sign-in pop-up may appear more frequently in this build and may require administrators to grant Windows Admin Center permissions more frequently.
  • If you have already given admin approval for Windows Admin Center in the Azure Portal and you are still seeing an error message saying “Need admin approval”, try signing into Azure using one of the banners (pictured below) around Windows Admin Center instead of in the Settings page.

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For more details about known issues in Windows Admin Center, visit our documentation.

 

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!

As always, thanks for your ongoing support, adoption, and feedback. Your contributions through user feedback continue to be very important and valuable to us, helping us prioritize and sequence our investments.

 

<3,

 

Windows Admin Center Team (@servermgmt)

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