[Review]: Windows Admin Center (Project Honolulu)
What is Windows Admin Center?
Windows Admin Center (Formerly Project Honolulu) is a new browser based management tool. Windows Admin Center the evolution of traditional in-box server management tools for situations where you might have used Remote Desktop (RDP) to connect to a server for troubleshooting or configuration. It’s not intended to replace other existing Microsoft management solutions.
The traditional server management tools are as follows:
Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT)
- System Center
Operations Management Suite
- Azure Stack
Windows Admin Center lets you manage your Windows Servers with no Azure or cloud dependency and gives you full control over all aspects of your server infrastructure and is particularly useful for managing servers on private networks that are not connected to the Internet.
How Windows Admin Center Works?
Windows Admin Center be able to manage Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 and more (It also be compatible with Windows Server 2019). You can manage the servers via Internet when you have published your server IP on Internet.
When Windows Admin Center is installed on Windows Server 2016 or Windows 10, a component will be installed that called Windows Admin Center Gateway. The gateway manages servers by using Remote PowerShell and WMI over WinRM.
Windows Admin Center Features
A list of features that are offered from this web based administration tool are as follows, and expected to grow with the ability for plugins and 3rd party extensions. There are a few like Storage Replica which don’t have any alternative GUI so far:
- Local Users & Groups
- Remote Desktop
- Roles & Features
- Storage Replica
- Virtual Machines
- Virtual Switches
- Windows Updates
In addition, Windows Admin Center also offers Hyper Converged Cluster Management.
At present, Microsoft only supports Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome browsers. Internet Explorer is not supported.
Extensions for Windows Admin Center
Windows Admin Center is built as an extensible platform to enable partners and developers to leverage existing capabilities within Windows Admin Center, seamlessly integrate with other IT administration products and solutions, and provide additional value to customers. Each solution and tool in Windows Admin Center is built as an extension using the same extensibility features available to partners and developers, so you can build powerful tools just like the ones available in Windows Admin Center today.
Windows Admin Center extensions are built using modern web technologies including HTML5, CSS, Angular, TypeScript and jQuery, and can manage target servers via PowerShell or WMI. You can also manage target servers, services or devices over different protocols such as REST by building a Windows Admin Center gateway plugin.
Here’s the value you can bring to your product and customers by developing extensions for Windows Admin Center:
- Integrate with Windows Admin Center tools: Integrate your products and services with server and cluster management tools in Windows Admin Center and deliver unified and seamless, end-to-end monitoring, management, troubleshooting experiences to your customers.
- Leverage platform security, identity and management capabilities: Enable Azure Active Directory (AAD) support, Multi-Factor Authentication, Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), logging, auditing for your product and services by leveraging Windows Admin Center platform capabilities to meet the complex requirements of today’s IT organizations.
- Develop using the latest web technologies: Quickly build stunning user experiences using modern web technologies including HTML5, CSS, Angular, TypeScript and jQuery, and rich, powerful UI controls included in the Windows Admin Center SDK.
- Extend product outreach: Become a part of the new Windows Admin Center ecosystem with outreach to our quickly growing customer base and leverage the Windows Server 2019 launch momentum later this year.
Windows Admin Center has a software development kit for developer who wants to develops extensions for Windows Admin Center and integrates that with their solutions.
Currently, some of Microsoft partners released their extensions such as:
- Squared Up
Windows Admin Center Installation
Windows Admin Center installation is too easy, just download its MSI file and run it but it needs some additional preparation on some servers:
There is some simple steps to complete installation:
At the step 4, you can specify another port and also use another SSL certificate. Default configuration is fine for test but you might be changed the configuration based on IT department policies.
After the installation has been completed, Windows Admin Center will be accessible via web browser, just enter the server IP address or NetBIOS name and logon to Windows Admin Center.
Here’s a screenshot from my test server after logged on to Windows Admin Center: