Tag: Server Manager

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Project Honolulu Server Overview

Microsoft Project Honolulu – The new Windows Server Management Experience

Last week Microsoft introduced the world to Project Honolulu, which is the codename for a new Windows Server management experience. Project “Honolulu” is a flexible, locally-deployed, browser-based management platform and tools to manage Windows Server locally and remote.

Microsoft today launched the Hololulu Technical Preview for the world, I had the chance to already work with Microsoft during the last couple of months in a private preview. Project Honolulu helps you to managed your servers remotely as a new kind of Server Manager. This is especially handy if you run Windows Server Core, which I think is the new black, after Microsoft announced that Nano Server is only gonna live as a Container Image with the next version of Windows Server.

Project Honolulu took many features for the Azure Server Management Tools which were hosted in Azure, and allowed you to manage your servers in the cloud and on-premise. But the Feedback was simple, People wanted to install the Management expierence on-prem, without the dependency to Microsoft Azure. Microsoft listened to the feedback and delivered the with Project Honolulu a web-based management solution, which you can install on your own servers.

Honolulu Management Experience

Project Honolulu Server Overview

Project Honolulu has different solutions which give you different functionality. In the technical preview there are three solutions available, Server Manager, Failover Cluster Manager and Hyper-Converged Cluster Manager.

Server Manager

The server manager lets you is kind of like the Server Manager you know from Windows Server, but it also replaces some local only tools like Network Management, Process, Device Manger, Certificate and User Management, Windows Update and so on. The Server Manager Solution also adds management of Virtual Machines, Virtual Switches and Storage Replica.

Failover Cluster Manager

As you might think, this allows you to manage Failover Clusters.

Hyper-Converged Cluster Manager

The Hyper-Converged Cluster Manager is very interesting if you are running Storage Spaces Direct clusters in a Hyper-Converged design, where Hyper-V Virtual Machines run on the same hosts. This allows you to do management of the S2D cluster as well as some performance metrics.

Honolulu Topology

Project Honolulu On-Premise Architecture

Project Honolulu leverages a three-tier architecture, a web server displaying web UI using HTML, a gateway service and the managed nodes. The web interface talks to the gateway service using REST APIs and the gateway connected to the managed nodes using WinRM and PowerShell remoting (Similar like the Azure Management Tools).

Project Honolulu On-Premise and Public Cloud Architecture

You can basically access the Web UI from every machine running modern browsers like Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome. If you publish the webserver to the internet, you can also manage it remotely from everywhere. The installation and configuration of Project Honolulu is straight forward, but If you want to know more about the installation check out, my friend and Microsoft MVP colleague, Charbel Nemnom’s blog post about Project Honolulu.

Project Honolulu Gateways Service can be installed on:

  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2016

You can manage:

  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2016 and higher

Conclusion

In my opinion Microsoft Project Honolulu provides us with the Windows Server Management Tool we need so much. It helps us to manage our servers from a centralized HTML5 web application, and really makes management of GUI less servers easy. Deployment and configuration is very easy and simple and doesn’t take a lot of effort, while drastically removing the need to locally logon to a server for management reasons. I hope with that we will see a higher deployment of Windows Server Core installations, since we don’t need the GUI on every single server anymore.

You can download the Project Honolulu Technical Preview here: Project Honolulu Technical Preview

You can give feedback to Project Honolulu here: User Voice Project Honolulu

 



Azure Remote Server Management Nano Server

Manage Nano Server and Windows Server from Azure using Remote Server Management Tools

Today Microsoft announced the preview of the Remote Server Management Tools hosted in Azure, written by Kriti Jindal, a program manager on the Server management tools team. This service allows you to manage your servers directly from Azure using a web-based HTML5 portal. I personally think that this could replace Server Manager and allows you to easily manage non-GUI servers such as Windows Server Core and Nano Server. This is the first public preview of the Remote Server Management Tools and it limited right now to manage Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview server, hosted on-prem or in Microsoft Azure. The Remote Server Management Tools today include the following features:

  • View and change system configuration
  • View performance across various resources and manage processes and services
  • Manage devices attached to the server
  • View event logs
  • View the list of installed roles and features
  • Use a PowerShell console to manage and automate

Overview

To remotely manage your Windows Server from Azure, you have to deploy a Remote Server Management Gateway into your network. This can be a Windows Server 2012 R2 Server running the WMF 5.0 (Windows Management Framework 5.0) or Windows Server 2016 with no additional preparation. You also need a Microsoft Azure subscription and an account.

Microsoft Azure Server Management Tools Topology

The gateway will handle the connection to Azure, so the Remote Server Management Gateway needs connection to the internet. The managed servers do not need a direct connection to the internet, the gateway will connect to the managed server. With that, the gateway need connection to the sever which will be managed by Azure.

Setup Server Management Tools

Well to set this up some steps are required, first create a new server for the Remote Server Management Gateway. In my case I installed a new Windows Server 2016 virtual machine. I made sure I could connect to the internet and it has the lastest updates installed.

Microsoft Azure Server Management Tools New Connection

After I created the virtual machine I logged in to the Azure portal and added a new Server Management Tools Connection. You can search “Server management tools” in Marketplace or navigate to it: Marketplace -> Management -> More -> Server management tools. This will also create the first Server Management Tools Gateway for your connection.

Microsoft Azure Server Management Tools Connection

After the connection is created you can see the connection and but you will get the information that the gateway is not ready. As the next step you will configure the gateway on the prepared server.

Microsoft Azure Server Management Tools Gateway

Under the Server Management Tools Gateway blade you can find a setup for the gateway which will generate a custom install package for your gateway. You can copy this link to the server and download this package and install it.

  1. Allow gateway updates to be installed automatically (recommended), or choose to install updates manually. You may change this later under gateway settings.
  2. Click the below to generate a customized gateway deployment package link.
  3. Use the generated link to download the gateway deployment package now, or copy the link URL to download the package later from the machine on which you intend to install the package.
  4. From the machine that you want to designate as the gateway, unzip the package and run GatewayService.MSI.
  5. Once the gateway installation completes, return to the Microsoft Azure portal and reopen your Server management tools connection.
  6. You should now be able to manage your Windows Server 2016 machine if the Microsoft Azure portal can reach it through the gateway.

Azure Remote Server Management Gateway Installer

After you have installed the Remote Server Management Gateway package on your gateway server you can see the connection in the Azure portal.

Azure Remote Server Management Nano Server

Now you start remote manage your server. As mentioned before, this is really handy if you want to manage Server Core or Nano Server.

Additional Stuff:

There are some additions for the configuration if you want to manage servers in a workgroup environment:

In order to manage workgroup machines (e.g. non-domain-joined Nano Servers), run this command as an administrator on the Server management tools gateway machine:

winrm set winrm/config/client @{ TrustedHosts=”<<IP address>>” }

When creating a Server management tools connection to the workgroup machine, use the machine’s IP address as the computer name.

Additional connectivity requirements

If you wish to connect using the local Administrator account, you will need to enable this policy on the target machine by running the following command in an administrator session on the target machine:

REG ADD HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy /t REG_DWORD /d 1

If you wish to connect to a workgroup machine which is not on the same subnet as the gateway, run the following command in an administrator session on the target machine:

NETSH advfirewall firewall add rule name=”WinRM 5985″ protocol=TCP dir=in localport=5985 action=allow

Remote Management Server Tools Features

Azure Remote Server Management PowerShell

As mentioned the Remote Management Server Tools bring some really cool web-based management features. One of my favorites is the web-based PowerShell console.

  • Device Manager
  • PowerShell Console
  • Computer Configuration (Name, Domain,…)
  • Network Configuration
  • Task Manager
  • Process
  • Registry Editor
  • Roles and Features
  • Services
  • Local Administrators
  • Updates Management (coming soon)
  • Shutdown / Restart

More Information

 

 



Remote Disk Management with “RPC server is unavailable” Error

If you have a Windows Server 2008 R2 Core Server or a Hyper-V R2 Server, which is also managed like a Core Server, you are really happy if you can use the Server Manager for this Remote Machine. Basiclly I had the the Remote Setup done. I could connect to the remote Machine with the Server Manager but when I tried to use the Disk Management on a remote Server and I got the following error “RPC server is unavailable”. After checking it I found the solution. The Problem is that the Firewall blocks the remote communication to virtual disk service. So you have to open the Firewall on the Management Machine

  1. First make sure you activated all the Remote Management options on the Remote Machine. I had all done this but its good to check that.
  2. Now you can run the following Command in cmd on the Management Machine to add the a new firewall rule

firewall