Today, we are releasing our latest version of Windows Admin Center – version 2211! Thank you to our customers, partners, and fans for helping us to continue to improve and make Windows Admin Center better!
In this release, we’ve made improvements across our entire product! From updates to our platform, to enhancing your Azure Stack HCI management tooling, to introducing unique new features to Windows Admin Center in Azure, and so much more. This is a long blog post, but we hope you’ll read on and share our excitement for the new features we’re introducing this winter. If you’re impatient like me, you can download right away!
With thousands of new malicious files created every day, using traditional methods like antivirus solutions - signature-based detection to fight against malware - provides an inadequate defense against new attacks.
In most organizations, information is the most valuable asset, and ensuring that only approved users have access to that information is imperative. However, when a user runs a process, that process has the same level of access to data that the user has. As a result, sensitive information could easily be deleted or transmitted out of the organization if a user knowingly or unknowingly runs malicious software.
Windows Defender application control (WDAC) can help mitigate many security threats by restricting the applications that users are allowed to run and the code that runs in the System Core (kernel). Application control policies can also block unsigned scripts and MSIs, and restrict Windows PowerShell to run in Constrained Language Mode. Learn more about Application Control for Windows.
In this release, Windows Admin Center now supports managing your WDAC-enforced infrastructure. The experience is no different – simply add your server or cluster and use Windows Admin Center as you always do. This capability enables you to use the modern interface of Windows Admin Center to manage your secure environments, no matter where they are running. Learn more.
Search settings with smart keywords
The settings pages for Windows Admin Center, Cluster Manager, Server Manager, and Computer Management now contain a search box to improve navigation. The search feature can now handle non-trivial keywords to match more than just the section title.
(Also: check out the new grouping of tools on the left too)
Support for 400% zoom
We’re excited to provide support for and up-to 400% zoom for our customers. Now, visually impaired users can zoom and navigate through Windows Admin Center without any issues or concerns. The UI components will now adjust dynamically as the user zooms and provide the same seamless experience that you all know and love.
Migration from Azure AD Graph to Microsoft Graph
Azure AD Graph deprecates at the end of the year and is replaced by Microsoft Graph. Microsoft Graph has all the capabilities that have been available in Azure AD Graph and new APIs like identity protection and authentication methods. Its client libraries offer built-in support for features like retry handling, secure redirects, transparent authentication, and payload compression.
With this release, Windows Admin Center has migrated to use the new, and updated Microsoft Graph APIs. If you’re leveraging our Azure services, upgrade to this build to keep getting the latest updates and security improvements.
Support for self-signed certs on Chromium-based browsers
Chromium-based browsers recently changed the way they verify server certificates. You can find more information here. This change means that Windows Admin Center instances with a self-signed certificate being accessed over “https://localhost:<port>” will fail to load.
To address this, if you choose to install Windows Admin Center and request the installer to generate a self-signed certificate, it will generate an additional root CA and include it in your trusted certificate store.
In this release, we’ve also made several updates to Windows Admin Center to improve the experience of deploying and managing Azure Stack HCI. Read the blog post to learn more or continue reading for a summary.
New cluster properties page
Have you ever wanted to access all the basic information about your Azure Stack HCI cluster in one place? The new Properties page in Cluster Manager Settings brings cluster, operating system, and hardware related information to a single page with click-to-copy functionality.
In this release, we are introducing an edit volume settings feature that will enable resizing volumes and changing the provisioning type from Fixed to Thin. Thin provisioning conversion is a new feature for Azure Stack HCI 22H2 and now supported in Windows Admin Center. Customers can convert their existing Fixed volumes to Thin and get space savings with little to no downtime. Please note that once converted to Thin, it is not supported to revert to Fixed provisioned. The resize volume capability will replace the existing “Expand” functionality. Customers can expand their volumes to a larger size or even over-provision when the volume is set to Thin.
New Azure Arc tool
Azure Stack HCI registration and Arc-enabled servers now have a dedicated section in the new Azure Arc preview tool. The Azure Arc section can be found under the new Configuration grouping in the Cluster Manager Tools bar.
The Azure Arc section is made up of the Overview, Azure Stack HCI registration and Arc-enabled servers pages. The Overview page provides high-level status reporting.
The Azure Stack HCI registration and Arc-enabled servers pages provide in-depth cluster and server statuses. This includes clearer error messaging and links to troubleshooting docs. Learn more.
Support for GPU-P management
GPU-P is now supported on Azure Stack HCI! To complement this release, an updated GPU tool which supports GPU partitioning is now available in Windows Admin Center! GPU partitioning on Azure Stack HCI enables the sharing of a physical GPU device with multiple virtual machines (VMs). In a typical configuration, this is expected to lower the total cost of ownership for GPU devices.
To use GPU partitioning with Windows Admin Center, you must first update to the latest version of Windows Admin Center and ensure the latest version of the GPU extension is installed.
Once GPU partitioning has been enabled, you can use Windows Admin Center to manage the allocation of GPU resources to VMs. From there, you can add, remove, or view the GPU resources that are allocated to the VM.
Software Defined Networking (SDN)
SDN management in Windows Admin Center is now generally available. We’ve made several improvements to the monitoring and health of SDN. These changes include:
In addition to these improvements, we’ve also added the following features:
We continue to invest in improving the cluster create experience. This has resulted in fewer errors and an increased success rate. Based on newer customer scenarios, this build includes the following:
New user feedback forum
With this GA release, we are excited to share that we are moving to a new user feedback forum to facilitate better communication between our team and customers. Thank you so much for raising issues and new ideas in our old GitHub forum. Rest assured, the issues and ideas that you have meticulously put together will not be lost. They will be migrated within the coming weeks to our new Community feedback forum!
Deprecating in-app updates
Last year, we introduced a preview for in-app updates for Windows Admin Center. After much feedback, we have decided to deprecate this experience and leverage Microsoft Update for providing you with new versions of Windows Admin Center.
For this release, and any future release, we recommend using Microsoft Update or directly downloading our build from the evaluation center. This build will be available via Microsoft Update in the new year.
When attempting to register your Windows Admin Center gateway in the Azure China or Azure US Gov cloud domains, you may be redirected to the Azure Global sign-in experience. To work around this issue, please use an earlier version of Windows Admin Center.
Announcing Azure AD authentication
After huge customer demand, we’re excited to announce support for authentication using Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), part of Microsoft Entra, with Windows Admin Center in Azure. Customers can now use Azure AD authentication with Windows Admin Center in Azure for both domain and non-domain joined server infrastructure. This exciting capability unites Azure AD authentication with Windows Admin Center to easily manage your server infrastructure.
Whether you are managing an Azure Virtual Machine or an Azure Arc-enabled server, Windows Admin Center in Azure provides you with a single sign-on (SSO) experience that makes managing your machines simple and secure. No more worrying about password management!
Learn more about this awesome new feature here.
Announcing General Availability for Azure Virtual Machines
At the Microsoft Ignite conference last month, we announced the general availability of Windows Admin Center for Azure Virtual Machines! For decades, companies of every size have trusted Windows Server to run their mission and business-critical workloads. As more customers use the cloud for innovation and digital transformation, customers are increasingly migrating their workloads to Azure - as the best destination for Windows Server.
Whether customers are migrating as is, or modernizing applications, Azure provides more than 200 unique services and capabilities for Windows Server. We’re excited to announce one more capability today.
Windows Admin Center for Azure Virtual Machines standardizes how you manage your infrastructure, whether on-premises or in the cloud. Read more about this announcement in our blog post.
Announcing Public Preview for Arc-enabled infrastructure
A few months ago, we released the preview of Windows Admin Center in Azure to manage your Arc-enabled servers and Azure Stack HCI clusters.
This new capability enables seamless and granular management of your Arc-enabled Windows machines from the Azure Portal. This includes Windows servers, Windows virtual machines, and Azure Stack HCI systems, all from within the Azure portal. You can securely manage your servers and clusters from the cloud - without needing a VPN, a public IP address, or other inbound connectivity to your machine.
Here is a short video highlighting some of the capabilities included with Windows Admin Center: How to use Windows Admin Center in the Azure portal.
Over the next few weeks, your instances of Windows Admin Center in Azure will update to include the awesome new capabilities from this Windows Admin Center v2211 release. Stay tuned!
Windows Admin Center was built to be an extensible platform, and we value the contributions of our partners to the Windows Admin Center ecosystem. We’re excited to announce that two new extensions have been published since our last release. Our existing partner, BiitOps, released a new Inventory extension. We’d also like to welcome Advantech to the Windows Admin Center partner ecosystem with their new IPMI management tool!
Advantech IPMI management
The Advantech IPMI management extension allows you to use the ipmitool executable on the device you are managing to perform the following IPMI functions:
BiitOps Inventory for Windows Admin Center provides a fast, easy, and powerful way to find the information about a computer you need in any given situation without having to search through different Windows Admin Center extensions or even resort to using remote PowerShell. BiitOps DataEngine is the central repository for automatically updated configuration and asset information, and the Inventory extension delivers out-of-box high-value based on this data.
This solution works with all versions of Windows servers and clients currently supported by Microsoft. BiitOps Inventory extension requires a BiitOps DataEngine instance.
Watch a demo of the BiitOps Inventory extension here.
The Dell OpenManage extension has been updated to version 3.0.0. Since our last release, the following features and fixes have been added:
Lenovo XClarity Integrator
The Lenovo XClarity Integrator extension has been updated to version 4.2.3. Since our last release, the following features and fixes have been added:
Other partner extension updates
Phew! If you made it this far in the blog post, thank you so much for reading along! We hope you enjoy this latest update of Windows Admin Center, including the various new functionality and all the extensions now available.
As always, thanks for your ongoing support, adoption, and feedback. Your contributions through user feedback continue to be vital and valuable to us, helping us prioritize and sequence our investments.
Windows Admin Center is continuously evolving and growing as a tool and a platform, and we are beyond thrilled to have you as part of our journey.
To skill up on Windows Admin Center and Windows Server 2022, check out our Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Certification and other featured Learn courses.
Have a wonderful new year, and we’ll catch you all in 2023,
Windows Admin Center Team (@servermgmt)
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