Managing Windows has always been a bit of a pain. You need to log into servers, use Microsoft tools or use Third Party tools to check your server status, view health, install components and more. And then when you add desktops, life becomes even more complicated. This problem has given rise to a range of third party products and tools that work to make administering Windows Easier. But no matter how hard everyone tried, they still couldn’t offer the level of functionality or features that system administrators need for the majority of their work.
Enter Windows Admin Centre
Formerly known as Microsoft Honolulu, Windows Admin Centre is Microsoft’s new administration console for managing Windows Server and Windows 10 workloads. It provides a simple web based interface for viewing the state of your servers, performing tasks, managing software, and accessing PowerShell. It’s ubiquitous, easy to use and very cool.
So what does it do? Well it replaces Server Manager and MMC, and works with Microsoft Operations Manager to make accessing windows services a lot simpler. For those familiar with Microsoft language, Windows Admin Centre (WAC) is an “In-Box Tool” (IBT) replacement. For many small businesses with one to five servers, Windows Admin Centre may be the only tool they need to view and manage their IT infrastructure.
How does it work?
Windows Admin Centre runs in a web browser. It manages Windows Server 2016, 2012R2, 2012 and Windows 10 computers through a Windows Admin Centre Gateway. The Gateway can be run on any Windows 2016 or 10 Computer and is installed using a standard MSI. The Windows Admin Centre Gateway builds secure PowerShell and WMI connections over WinRM to allow access to machines. This requires some firewall and group policy configuration, but is still a relatively standard part of enterprise management most administrators will be familiar with.
Microsoft suggests that this is a robust and secure solution that you can use to allow management from anywhere. We’d still recommend protecting it with an additional VPN in most cases, but it’s great to see that Microsoft has a forward thinking view of how system management will occur!
Have we run it?
Yep! We’re running it on our Veeam CloudConnect infrastructure, and have started trialling it for some customer deployments. Lachlan, our resident expert on this is already finding that it’s faster and making a big difference to how we work.
You can read more about it at the Microsoft Windows Admin Centre pages on Windows IT Pro Centre.