Back in September, Microsoft announced their step toward a graphical management experience specifically designed for Windows Server programs. Originally known as Project Honolulu, Windows Admin Center (WAC) is a new, locally-deployed, browser-based management toolset that allows users to manage Windows Servers with no Azure or cloud dependency. The platform gives full control over all aspects of server infrastructure and is particularly useful for managing servers on private networks that are not connected to the Internet. Microsoft granted interested parties early access to a Technical Preview package, and the results are in: users love the streamlined simplicity of WAC. For IT admins looking to utilize a GUI platform and toolset to remotely manage Windows Server and Windows 10 machines, WAC is the way to go.
Windows Admin Center Capabilities
WAC can manage Windows Server and Windows 10 instances anywhere including physical systems, virtual machines on any hypervisor, or running in any cloud. Users can connect to the cloud with optional value-added features like integration with Azure Site Recovery for protecting virtual machines, and support for Azure Active Directory to control access with multi-factor authentication.
WAC also gives a holistic overview of resources, as well as the ability to dig into granular details, rather than switching between several tools and contexts. In addition to server and client machines, users can also manage failover clusters and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) deployments. As for the future of WAC, Microsoft plans to extend WAC’s capabilities to 3rd-party solutions, meaning hardware vendors will be able to use WAS to provide management of their own hardware.
Enhanced security features make for a protected management system. Role-based access control lets admins fine-tune which administrators have access to which management features. Gateway authentication options include local groups, local domain-based Active Directory, and cloud-based Azure Active Directory.
Features of Windows Admin Center
Windows IT Pro Center gives a great overview of what WAC can offer, but here are some of the most beneficial features for IT admins that Trusted Tech Team has found:
- Supported Systems: WAC currently manages Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, and Windows 10. The gateway manages servers by using Remote PowerShell and WMI over WinRM.
- Modern Platform: Gives users more flexibility for how and where they deploy and access tools, with no internet dependency.
- Easy Add-Ons: WAC enables internal and external partners to leverage and easily build on top of a growing system of tools and capabilities.
- Highlights for Hyper-Converged Infrastructure:
- View virtual machines, host servers, volumes, drives, and more within one purpose-built, consistent, interconnected experience.
- Create and manage Storage Spaces and Hyper-V virtual machines. Radically simplify workflows to create, open, resize, and delete volumes; and create, start, connect to, and move virtual machines.
- Powerful cluster-wide monitoring. The dashboard graphs memory and CPU usage, storage capacity, IOPS, throughput, and latency in real-time, across every server in the cluster, with clear alerts when something’s not right.
Users are excited about the newly developed Windows Admin Center, and it seems Microsoft will continually give updates of the latest features. Get more info about Project Honolulu’s transition to WAC on the Microsoft blog, and learn how to install the program with this handy walkthrough via Spiceworks.