This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Windows Admin Center Blog articles.
It’s hard to believe how far we’ve come in just a year…
- Windows Admin Center 1804 was launched exactly one year ago on April 12th, 2018 as our first generally available (non-preview) release, and in the summer was prominently showcased in the inaugural Windows Server Summit event (the next one is coming up in May).
- Windows Admin Center 1809 was launched just before the Ignite conference, along with a list of sessions (now available on-demand). Almost every Ignite session related to Windows Server had some coverage of either Windows Admin Center as a platform or solution, or demonstrated key new tooling or functionality hosted in Windows Admin Center.
- Windows Admin Center 1809.5 was launched earlier this year as a cumulative update along with some targeted feature improvements.
- Windows Admin Center Preview versions 1812, 1902, and 1903 provided Windows Insiders an early look at our ongoing investments (along with both internal and external partners) to deliver additional value, address gaps, fulfill user requests, and align with business needs and industry trends.
- Azure Stack HCI announcement just a few weeks ago showcased Windows Admin Center’s key role in Microsoft’s hybrid cloud value proposition. Watch the Hybrid Cloud Virtual Event on-demand to hear the introduction to Azure Stack HCI (20:57) and watch the Windows Admin Center demo (22:58) covering HCI and Azure hybrid services.
Install or update to the latest 1904 release today!
Windows Admin Center GA releases follow the Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel rhythm.
As a platform, version 1904 of Windows Admin Center is generally available, and contains all the features and improvements of the previous monthly preview releases. As the number of capabilities grow, please note that some extensions and features are still clearly marked as “preview” to help differentiate newer functionality and allow for flexibility of ecosystem growth.
- Download: Go to aka.ms/WindowsAdminCenter to download Windows Admin Center 1904 and browse updated documentation covering all the new features.
For customers currently using any previous version of Windows Admin Center, please upgrade to version 1904 within 30 days to remain supported under Microsoft’s Modern Lifecycle Policy.
Upgrading is especially important for customers using Azure Site Recovery, Azure Update Management, or Azure Monitor. Windows Admin Center 1904 uses the most current public Azure Resource Manager APIs. Previous versions of Windows Admin Center use older Azure APIs which are now deprecated and will soon be deactivated. Once that happens, some Azure integration features in previous Windows Admin Center versions will no longer function until you upgrade to Windows Admin Center 1904.
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 1809…
- Shared connections: With the ability to add shared connections, gateway administrators can configure the connections list once for all users of a given Windows Admin Center gateway.
- Add connections from Active Directory: Optionally search Active Directory when adding servers or Windows 10 PCs to a connections list. You can use wildcards in your search and bulk add multiple search results.
- Dark mode theme: Try out the new dark mode UI theme! It’s as easy as toggling the option under Settings->User->Personalization.
- Fundamentals: Various quality and functional improvements and bug fixes, including accessibility, notifications, elevation experience, high-availability deployment improvements, etc.
- PowerShell module for connections: Use PowerShell to automate or programmatically import or export connections, including support for tags and shared connections. For RDCman users, check out the script which exports your RDCman connections for import into Windows Admin Center, while maintaining your grouping hierarchy using tags!
- PowerShell module for extensions: Use PowerShell to automate or programmatically configure extension feeds, extension details, and install/update/uninstall extensions.
- Power options: Use the Power configuration tab in the server settings page to change the configured power profile. For example, select the High performance power plan to get the most out of your Hyper-V hosts.
- Platform hardware access: If your server has an IPMI-compatible BMC, you’ll find the BMC serial number and a hyperlink to its IP address on the Server Overview page.
- VMs can now use SMB shares for storage: Create and configure VMs to use disaggregated storage with SMB file shares. Set the default VM configuration file and VHD file path to remote file shares in the Hyper-V host settings, create VMs using the default host setting or browse and choose a custom remote file share path, and point to .iso files on file shares to install the OS for the VM.
- Containers tool: The Containers tool has exited preview and an updated version is available to install from the Extensions manager in Settings. It includes some style updates and accessibility fixes.
- Active Directory tool (Preview): Available to install from the Extensions manager in Settings, the AD tool currently lets you view domain details, create and manage users and groups, membership and details, search, enable/disable and remove user and computer objects, reset password, and configure resource-based constrained delegation on a computer object (use this to configure single sign-on for your Windows Admin Center gateway deployment!)
- DNS tool (Preview): Available to install from the Extensions manager in Settings, the DNS tool currently lets you view, create and configure forward and reverse lookup zones and DNS records and properties.
- DHCP tool (Preview): Available to install from the Extensions manager in Settings, the DHCP tool currently lets you view scope details like IP status and usage, and address exclusions and reservations, create scopes and scope properties, create address exclusions and reservations.
- Azure hybrid services tool: Consolidating all of Windows Admin Center’s optional Azure services into a centralized hub, the Azure hybrid services tool lets you easily discover and leverage the value that Azure can bring to your on-premises or hybrid environment.
- Azure Monitor (Preview): Configure custom email notifications about your server health, using the robust alerting framework of Azure Monitor. With Azure Monitor’s free 5 GB of data per month/customer allowance, easily try it out for a server or two without worry of getting charged. Additional benefits include a consolidated view of systems performance across the servers in your environment.
- Azure File Sync (Preview): Centralize your organization's file shares in Azure, while keeping the flexibility, performance, and compatibility of an on-premises file server. Azure File Sync transforms Windows Server into a quick cache of your Azure file share with the optional cloud tiering feature.
- Storage Migration integration with Azure File Sync: Synergize migration with Azure File Sync (AFS). The Storage Migration Service leads to the AFS experience, so you can migrate from an older version of Windows Server to Windows Server 2019 and automatically deploy AFS to manage that data.
- Storage Migration directly into Azure: Optionally choose direct-to-Azure storage migrations with Storage Migration Service, so you can migrate from Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2012, or Linux Samba directly to a running IaaS VM in Azure.
- Azure Backup (improvements): Real-time monitoring of backup jobs, use existing Recovery Services Vaults, opt for the same backup schedule and settings across Files and System State backups, and error-handling and stability improvements.
- Automate deployment in Azure: Download and run our new script inside Azure Cloud Shell to set up a Windows Admin Center gateway in Azure. This script can create the entire environment, including the resource group.
Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI)
- Clustering and Hyper-V: Enhancements for Cluster Aware Updating; add/remove virtual hard disk for running VMs; VM Connect web console in the Virtual Machines tool on Failover Cluster and HCI Cluster connections; performance improvements on Windows Server 2019 HCI clusters; and Azure Site Recovery protection status is shown for VMs across all cluster nodes.
- Storage Spaces Direct: New drive latency and error statistics give deep visibility into SSD and HDD performance; a new Diagnostics tool provides one-click data collecting for troubleshooting; multi-select bulk actions for drives, volumes, and servers; and improved network activity and resync monitoring.
- Software-Defined Networking: Three powerful new tools: use Access Control Lists to manage data traffic flow by applying policies to virtual subnets; Gateway Connections, which supports all three types – IPSEC, GRE and L3; and Logical Networks management and monitoring. There are also many feature enhancements, like the ability to connect your VMs to a VLAN or Virtual Network directly within VM Settings.
Extensibility and extension experience
- Extension availability and update notifications: A notification will now appear in the Server/Cluster Overview page when you connect if an extension that supports the hardware manufacturer and model is available. You see these notifications as partners release extension updates that support this feature. Also, a notification will appear when you open a tool and an update is available, with an “Update now” link to easily ensure you are on the latest version of the extension.
- Updated SDK design toolkit: Rapidly mock up extension designs in PowerPoint using the latest updated Windows Admin Center styles, controls, and page templates!
Windows Admin Center ecosystem
- Growth: Partners are continuously adding new features and releasing extension updates and three new partners have released extensions since our last major GA release in September. We are also working with several other partners aiming to release extensions later this year.
- Lenovo XClarity Integrator: Released in January, Lenovo’s solution provides a high-level view of all your Lenovo servers, allowing you to connect to Lenovo XClarity Administrator, Lenovo rack or tower servers, or all the servers in an entire chassis at once. You can then view the hardware health and status of individual servers and a summary dashboard of hardware health and firmware consistency across an entire cluster.
NOTE: Lenovo XClarity users, please read this known issue before upgrading to Windows Admin Center 1904.
- QCT Management Suite: Released in February, the GA version of QCT’s Management Suite extension added support for a couple of specific WSSD certified QCT server solutions, includes visualizations for hardware temperature, power, air flow, and disks, including a disk replacement wizard. This week, another update brings support for dark mode UI theme, disk S.M.A.R.T information such as disk health status and model details, and firmware update capabilities for NIC, HBA, BIOS and disks.
- NEC ESMPRO: Released earlier this month, NEC’s ESMPRO extension for Windows Admin Center enables showing hardware and RAID information for NEC Express5800 series servers by retrieving data through the NEC ESMPRO Manager software. See an overview of the system, or detailed information on individual hardware components and system health.
- In the coming months, we will resume Preview releases of Windows Admin Center through the Windows Insider Program.
- Also, learn more about Windows Admin Center on May 22, 2019 at the Windows Server Summit 2019! Registration will open on April 17, 2019.
As always, thanks for your ongoing support, adoption and feedback!