Tag: Windows Admin Center

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System Center release cadence

System Center 2019 – What’s new

Microsoft just launched Windows Server 2019 and Windows Admin Center, which also raised the interest in System Center 2019. At Microsoft Ignite, Microsoft was talking about what is new in System Center 2019, the future of System Center, and how it fits in with Windows Admin Center and other management tools.

Microsoft Cloud and Datacenter Management Story

Microsoft Cloud and Datacenter Management Overview

With Microsoft now offering a range of products to manage your Cloud and Datacenter environments, the question comes up “which is the best solution?”. It is not only depending on the size of your company, it also depends on which services you are using and what your job role is. Coming from the Azure site, you have Azure Security and Management, which allows you not only to manage your Azure resources but also integrates and extends with your on-premises environment. System Center is aimed to manage fatacenter environments at scale, and Windows Admin Center helps you to dig deeper to manage individual servers or single cluster management. Both Windows Admin Center and System Center 2019, can be used side by side and both are integrated into Microsoft Azure.

System Center Windows Admin Center better together

System Center vs Windows Admin Center

I often get the question, does Windows Admin Center replace System Center? The answer to this is no, System Center is aimed to do management at a datacenter scale, while Windows Admin Center is giving you deep management access to a single server or clusters. In small environments you might end up using Windows Admin Center only, but in larger datacenter deployments, you are likely to use a combination of System Center and Windows Admin Center.

System Center 2019 Suite Improvements

System Center 2019 Focus

The System Center 2019 release focuses on three main areas. First of all, it adds more capabilities to the existing components and features which were requested by customers. Secondly, it brings integration for the next version of Windows Server, Windows Server 2019 and brings new Windows Server features to life in System Center. Last but not least, System Center 2019 adds more Hybrid Cloud integrations with Microsoft Azure.



Intel NUC Windows Server

Building a Windows Server Lab with an Intel NUC

With the release of Windows Server 2019, which includes a ton of Hybrid Cloud integration features, it was time to build a new lab environment. The plan is to create a lab and demo environment for my presentations and workshops. Until today, I was still using my hardware from 2011, which was built from Cisco C200 and HPE ProLiant servers. This was, more or less, datacenter grade hardware, it was using a lot of electricity and made a lot of noise. Not really the thing for a home lab on your desk. With some pretty good deals out there, I decided to buy a brand-new Intel NUC. NUC stands for Next Unit of Computing, which is a small, light, cheap and not very noisy computer, which gives you the latest Intel CPUs and ports. Mostly used as desktop or media computers. However, the price and the features, are also making it a great option for a lab running Hyper-V.

If I look at the hardware our customers are using today, there is not really a good way to build a cheap home lab based on datacenter hardware. And with my workloads mostly running in Azure anyway, the Intel NUC seems to be a great option. For most of my demos a single server running Hyper-V should be enough. For demos on Storage Spaces Direct or Clustering I can still use Azure with Nested Virtualization.

Intel NUC Windows Server LAB

I decided to get an Intel NUC NUC8i7BEH – Bean Canyon with the following specs:

  • Intel Core i7-8559U
  • 32GB DDR4 RAM
  • 1TB M.2 Samsung 970 EVO
  • Intel Wireless-AC 9560 + Bluetooth 5.0
  • Gigabit LAN
  • USB-A and USB-C ports
  • Thunderbolt 3 port

Unfortunately, the Intel NUC is limited to 32GB of RAM and this version does not have a TPM chip. The good thing, it runs Windows Server 2019 and Windows Admin Center just fine. So far I don’t have any issues, except that there are some missing drivers for Windows Server 2019. We will see how it works out in the next couple of months.

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.



Azure Update Management Resource Group

Azure Update Management using Windows Admin Center

I already posted a couple of blogs about the Windows Admin Center. For example how you can use and configure Azure Backup or how you can configure the Azure Network Adapter directly from Windows Admin Center. Windows Admin Center does also allow you to manage Windows Updates on your Windows Server. However, if you want to have some more control over your updates and have a centralized orchestration for updates, Azure Update Management can help you. You can use the Update Management solution in Azure Automation to manage operating system updates for your Windows and Linux computers that are deployed in Azure, in on-premises environments, or in other cloud providers. With Windows Admin Center you will get a direct integration with Azure Update Management.

Setup Azure Update Management in Windows Admin Center

Windows Admin Center Windows Update Management

Setting up Azure Update management in Windows Admin Center is very simple. First you will need to register your WAC installation with Azure, if you haven’t done this already. After that you go to the Update extension and you will find a button to Set up now.

Windows Admin Center Setup Azure Update Management

Now you can configure Azure Update Management from Windows Admin Center. You can select your Azure Subscription where you want to deploy the solution. You can select an existing Resource Group and Log Analytics Workspace, or you can create a complete new setup.

Windows Admin Center Configured Azure Update Management

This will install the Microsoft Monitoring Agent on your Windows Server, which is used for the Azure Update Management.

Azure Update Management Resource Group

If you create a new setup, this will also create all the resources in Azure, like the Resource Group, Log Analytics Workspace, Azure Automation Account and adding the Update Solution.

Azure Update Management

Now you can start managing the Windows Updates centralized from Azure Update Management.

Azure Update Management supports not only Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server 2016, it supports Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 and later.

This again shows Microsoft efforts to build Hybrid Cloud functionality directly into Windows Server and Windows Admin Center. This should help especially administrators, which are mostly managing on-premises environments, to extend and benefit from Microsoft Azure.



Windows Server 2019

Windows Server 2019 released, get it now!

Microsoft announced Windows Server 2019 a while ago and also showed of a lot of new features and improvements at Microsoft Ignite last week. Today Microsoft announced the release of Windows Server 2019. Windows Server brings improvements in four key areas, such as Hybrid, Security, Application Platform and Hyper-converged Infrastructure (HCI). Together with Windows Admin Center, Windows Server 2019 becomes a powerful platform to run your workloads on-premise or in the cloud.

Update: Windows Server 2019 availability

On October 2, 2018, we announced the availability of Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server, version 1809. Later that week, we paused the rollout of these new releases to investigate isolated reports of users missing files after updating to the latest Windows 10 feature update. We take any case of data loss seriously, so we proactively removed all related media from our channels as we started investigation of the reports and have now fixed all known related issues.

 

In addition to extensive internal validation, we have taken time to closely monitor feedback and diagnostic data from our Windows Insiders and from millions of devices on the Windows 10 October 2018 Update. There is no further evidence of data loss. Based on this data, today we are beginning the re-release of Windows Server 2019, Windows Server, version 1809, and the related versions of Windows 10.

 

Customers with a valid license of Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server, version 1809 can download the media from the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC). Azure customers will see the Windows Server 2019 image available in the Azure Marketplace over the coming week. We are also working to make the Windows Server 2019 evaluation available on the Microsoft Eval Center. We will provide an update to this blog and our social channels once it’s available.

 

November 13, 2018 marks the revised start of the servicing timeline for both the Long-Term Servicing Channel and the Semi-Annual Channel. For more information please visit the Support Lifecycle page.

Source: Microsoft

Windows Server 2019 Investments

You can also read more about Windows Server innovations on my blog:

I have some other blog post in the pipeline, covering new features in Windows Server 2019.

Download Windows Server 2019

You can download and get Windows Server 2019 form different Microsoft source:

MSDN and the Microsoft Partner Network will get Windows Server 2019 later in October.

At Microsoft Ignite, Microsoft showed also some great Windows Server demos and I hope you check it out!



Windows Server 2019 Azure Network Adapter

Windows Server Azure Network Adapter

In my series about Windows Server 2019, I have a new feature I want to introduce you to. Windows Server 2019 Azure Network Adapter is one of the Hybrid Cloud efforts Microsoft is making in Windows Server 2019. A lot of workloads are running cross cloud and require connections to virtual machines running in Azure. To achieve this there are several options like Site-to-Site VPN, Azure Express Route or Point-to-Site VPN. With Windows Admin Center and Windows Server 2019 Azure Network Adapter, you get a one-click experience to connect your Windows Server with your Azure Virtual Network using a Point-to-Site VPN connection.

Even this is might not for every enterprise scenario, there are a lot of scenarios where you might quickly want to connect a server to Azure. The Azure Network Adapter functionality gives you that feature with a one click button. And by the way it also works on Windows Server 2012 R2 and higher.



PowerShell Windows Server System Insights

Windows Server 2019 System Insights

Currently Microsoft is releasing preview versions of Windows Server 2019 to the public. In one of the latest Windows Server Insider Preview builds, Microsoft released a new feature called Windows Server System Insights. The Windows Sevrer 2019 System Insights capability is a machine learning or statistics model that analyzes system data to give insight into the functioning of your Windows Server deployment. These predictive capabilities locally analyze Windows Server system data, such as performance counters or ETW events. This is helping IT administrators proactively detect and address problematic behavior in their Windows Server environment.

Windows Admin Center System Insights CPU Capacity forecasting

System Insights runs completely locally on Windows Server. All of your data is collected, persisted, and analyzed directly on your local machine, allowing you to realize predictive analytics capabilities without any cloud-connectivity. However, if you are using for example Azure Log Analytics (OMS), you forward the events created by System Insights to Azure Log Analytics, which than can give you a unified view about your environment.



Windows Admin Center Azure Backup

Setup Azure Backup in Windows Admin Center

With Windows Admin Center you have a great new web-based management experience for Windows Server. With Microsoft efforts to bring Hybrid Cloud capabilities closer to your on-premises systems, they added support for Azure Backup in Windows Admin Center. This allows you to simply configure Azure Backup for your Windows Server with a couple of clicks.

Setting up a cloud backup of a server is simple and safes you a lot of time and resources. It is especially great, if you have a small environment in your datacenter or hosted at a different service provider, where having an own backup infrastructure doesn’t make much sense.

Configure Azure Backup in Windows Admin Center

Windows Admin Center Azure Backup

First you will need to register your Windows Admin Center to Microsoft Azure. This can be done in the settings of Windows Admin Center. If you haven’t done this yet, the wizard will guide you through. After this is done you can go to the Azure Backup Extension in Windows Admin Center and sign in. You can now configure Azure Backup directly in Windows Admin Center.

Configure Azure Backup in Windows Admin Center

This will Azure Backup client on Windows Server and as well as in Microsoft Azure. It will create the Recovery Services Vault and the necessary resources

Windows Admin Center Setting up Azure Backup

Register Recovery Services Resource Provider

If you get the error message “Error Failed to create Microsoft Azure Recovery Services Vault. Detailed error: Das Abonnement ist nicht für die Verwendung des Namespace  Microsoft.RecoveryServices” registriert.” You will need to register the Recovery Services Resource Provider in you Azure Subscription.

Register Azure Recovery Services Resource Provider

Configure and Recover from Azure Backup

Windows Admin Cenetr Azure Backup Settings

After Azure Backup is fully configured, you can see the configuration, the latest recovery points and you also will be able to recover data.

I hope this post was helpful and showed you how simple it is to back up your servers to the cloud using Windows Admin Center and Azure Backup. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

Also check out my blog post about Microsoft investments in Windows Server 2019.