Today, we are releasing an update ("hotfix") to our latest generally available version of Windows Admin Center! Windows Admin Center version 2103.2 is now generally available. Thank you to our customers, partners, and fans for helping us to continue to improve and make Windows Admin Center better! We’re working constantly to ensure users of our product have the best user experience.
This version of Windows Admin Center includes key bug fixes and feature updates to the Azure sign in process, support for Azure China, support for seamless over-the-air updates for Azure Stack HCI as well as additional updates to the Events and Remote Desktop tool experience.
or navigate to gear icon (Settings) on the top right corner and go to Updates to install the update from within Windows Admin Center.
The request for Windows Admin Center to expand their Azure support matrix to sovereign clouds has been a long-standing ask, especially as we continue to introduce additional hybrid capabilities to Windows Admin Center. In this release, when you register your gateway to Azure, you will be prompted to select the cloud you’d like to register in. The two options in this dropdown are Azure Global and Azure China, with Azure Global selected by default. After registering your gateway with your selected cloud, Windows Admin Center will assume that further Azure operations, like Azure sign-in, will be done through the cloud your gateway is registered in.
Some of the Azure services included in Windows Admin Center are not currently supported in Azure China. For more detailed information on the regional support for each Azure service, visit the Microsoft Azure website.
Today, we are introducing an all-new way of updating Azure Stack HCI clusters in Windows Admin Center. This experience will enable you to update clusters to the preview build of Azure Stack HCI 21H2 in a simple intuitive manner. The updates tool in Windows Admin Center is enhanced to allow Azure Stack HCI clusters to get over-the-air cumulative updates.
The update experience has built-in prechecks that would provide you with the required validations before the update run is triggered. This cross-stack validation informs you, as the IT admin, of any setup issues ahead of time that can cause failure of the update.
Windows Admin Center invokes the cluster-aware-updates (CAU) rolling-upgrade plugin to orchestrate the updates across the clusters. The update process status is polled in at regular time intervals and relayed back to Windows Admin Center. The Azure Stack HCI cumulative update releasing in June is only for non-production/test environments.
Only clusters that join the preview channel for Azure Stack HCI will receive over-the-air updates. In order to obtain the preview version of Azure Stack HCI, clusters need to join the preview channel either through Windows Admin Center or PowerShell. Click on Settings in cluster manager and navigate to Join the preview channel. The Azure Stack HCI cumulative updates will be available starting June 2021.
In this release, Windows Admin Center makes Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) on HCI deployment natively available.
In just a few moments, Windows Admin Center allows you to deploy an AKS-HCI management cluster. This is a simple 7-step wizard that does system checks, allows you to set the appropriate network configuration and Azure registration required to successfully setup the management cluster.
You may also create a Kubernetes workload cluster through the AKS management cluster dashboard by clicking Add cluster. This starts a wizard that takes inputs for the workload cluster creation and creates the Kubernetes cluster. You now have a successfully deployed Kubernetes workload cluster to run your container applications.
"Access Denied” fixed
We understand several users were met with an “Access denied” error upon starting Windows Admin Center and were unable to use the Windows Admin Center v2103 as a result. We have updated the logic of our automatic extension updates feature to fix this issue.
PowerShell commands fixed
In the 2103 release, several users were unable to utilize PowerShell to manage their Windows Admin Center settings and connections. In this release, you should be able to effectively use these commands to configure your Windows Admin Center gateway.
Certificate error fixed
In the 2103 release, some users were having difficulties navigating and were presented with an SSL certificate error message. In this release, we have added a fix for this issue and this SSL certificate error message should not occur.
When we released the new look of the Events tool in our v2103 release, we did so with the caveat that not all the existing Events tool functionality was available in this new experience. In this release, we work towards rectifying that with the following improvements:
We’ve made a few changes to the Remote desktop tool in this release based on feedback we’ve received through UserVoice.
Windows Admin Center uses TLS ciphers in the Remote Desktop tool when connecting to a client machine. Historically, many of the ciphers offered by Windows Admin Center in this tool were cipher block chain (CBC) ciphers. In this release, we’ve upgraded the remote desktop web client library, and it now includes a wider selection of supported ciphers for you to choose from when you’re setting up RDP on your Windows Admin Center gateway. You should now be able to select ciphers from several suites, with options for both CBC and Galois/Counter mode (GCM).
Additionally, several users had reported through UserVoice that the language of their keyboard in the Remote Desktop tool did not match the language that had been selected. This was a large fix and it is currently only available to users who have access to our Windows Admin Center Insiders extension feed. To add the Insiders extension feed, navigate to the Feeds tab in Extension manager and add https://aka.ms/wac-insiders-feed to the feed list. Then, look for the updated "Remote Desktop" extension.
The Windows Time service extension uses the Windows Time service (W32Time) to synchronize the date and time for all computers running in Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS). Time synchronization is critical for the proper operation of many Windows services and line-of-business (LOB) applications. The Windows Time service uses the Network Time Protocol (NTP) to synchronize computer clocks on the network. NTP ensures that an accurate clock value, or timestamp, can be assigned to network validation and resource access requests.
This extension is currently only available to users who have access to our Windows Admin Center Insiders extension feed. To add the Insiders extension feed, navigate to the Feeds tab in Extension manager and add https://aka.ms/wac-insiders-feed to the feed list.
Over the past year, we've been hard at work improving the Containers Extension. These improvements include better management of your container images either locally or in a container registry - including Azure Container Registry (ACR), a new wizard to create new container images based on existing applications, running your container images locally or on Azure Container Instance and much more.
Today, we're happy to announce the capabilities in the Containers extension that will help you deploy workloads on Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and AKS on Azure Stack HCI (AKS-HCI).
A new option to create Workload Definitions allows you to create new YAML files based on existing container images on ACR. With this option, you can provide details on your application and Windows Admin Center provides you with a deployment file ready for your AKS clusters. It also ensures your AKS nodes can securely retrieve the authentication for your ACR registries. Not only that, you can target AKS or AKS-HCI with these Workload Definitions and check if these were deployed correctly.
This extension is available publicly through our Windows Admin Center extension feed. Download it today by navigating to the gear icon on the top right corner and clicking on Extensions.
Windows Admin Center continues to value the collaboration efforts we have with our partners, and these past few months have been a very active period! Since our 2103 release in March, five of our partners have released new or updated versions of their extensions. If you’re interested in developing a Windows Admin Center extension, visit our documentation to get started.
The HPE Azure Stack HCI Cluster Deployment and Update Snap-in is now available. The HPE Deployment snap-in reports the firmware and software inventory and status generated by HPE Smart Update Manager (SUM), then initiates installation of the selected components, followed by showing the completion status. The HPE Update snap-in reports the firmware and software inventory and status generated by HPE Smart Update Manager (SUM). The selected components will get updated on the cluster from Cluster-Aware-Updating (CAU) orchestration.
The cluster deployment snap-in will appear in the Azure Stack HCI cluster create wizard, and the update snap-in will appear in the update wizard in the Updates tool when connected to a cluster.
Fujitsu Software Infrastructure Manager (ISM) is now available. By installing ISM, multiple and various types of information and communications technology (ICT) devices can be managed in an integrated way. With this software, you can monitor the status of all the ICT devices in a data center or a machine room. You can also execute batch firmware updates for multiple devices and configure servers automatically. It can reduce costs of operation management and increase the operation quality.
Other partner extension updates
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.
Windows Admin Center Team (@servermgmt)
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