Checking out Admin Center

I had looked at Project Honolulu and I liked it.  So when it became Admin Center, and 1.0 I was excited to check it out.  This is my story of checking it out, and being both excited and sad.


Simple MSI to install both the web side but also the gateway side of it too.  The gateway is what actually will do the management of servers - meaning use PowerShell - for example - to reach out and change something.  The web component allows for the management.  You can install this a couple of different modes, but we will be putting it in a Win2K16 utility server, and pretty simple - meaning no HA or whatever.


I played with Version 1804, Build 1.1.1804.05002.  I have some Windows 2012 servers, along with Windows 2016, and the Win2K12 servers need to have WMF 5.1 installed. You can confirm if they do or don’t, by typing $PSVersiontable in PowerShell and make sure 5.1 or higher is seen. Bits for WMF 5.1 is here.
If you want to manage Hyper-V there is more work that needs to be done  - but in my case only the WMF for Win2K12 is what I need to worry about.
Now servers are ready.  Time to add some servers to this new tool so we can manage them easier.


You only need to install the MSI and you are done. But there is something during the install that irritates me.
I know a self-signed cert is not ideal, and not good for production, but it should be my choice.  Which means the fact that Admin Center deliberately says the cert it creates and uses will only last for 60 days that really sucks.
After the install, which is pretty quick and easy you should have an icon on the desktop.


When you first access the Admin Center it should look something like below.
Note the URL?  No port as I am accessing the Admin Center URL from a machine where it is not installed.
After you authenticate, and skip a tour, you should see something like below.
You should have one server listed, or at least I did, as that is where I installed Admin Center.  But it is not connected.  You can connect to it and you will see something like below.
There is really a lot of functionality here.  Just look at the long list of tools / functionality.  I love how things like events, and updates are here.
But lets add some more servers. You use the plus sign to add servers.
It was a lot of authentication prompts and I had lots of issues adding servers.  I was able to add them but I had to authenticate a lot of times.  Very odd. I thought it might be due to my using a Mac.  So I changed to a Windows 10 machine and when I connected and authenticated I saw only that first server and none of the ones I had trouble adding. I added another, and I did have to authenticate a few times but it seemed to work. I cannot seem to log out, but close the browser in Windows and log in on the Mac and now I see the two servers. But I can only access the first one.  Not the second. There is a lot of authentication prompts.

Using Admin Center

There is some very cool things here, and we are only going to visit a few of them.


Look at what we can learn about the devices inside a server.


I love the functionality around services.  Start and stop but also who depends on those services.
Above I have selected the DHCP Client and you can see that I can stop it, edit the setting of it, or even what is using it.  Nice.


I don’t have WUS in my lab, so I end up logging into each server and manually doing the updates on some sort of schedule.  But check this out:
Very nice to see all you can do here.


For my most important servers I forward most of the events of those servers to Log Insight.  But not all the events, and not all of the servers.  So I love the ability to see events here.   Or can I?
A bit disappointing. But it sounds like I can fix this somehow. I bet it was covered in the release notes. But I cannot find the release notes.


I really like what I see in Admin Center.  But with all the authentication prompts, and the problems adding my other servers - even when I try in Windows 10, much less my Mac, it is frustrating and irritating. Doubly so since on the one server I can see so much to like and appreciate.
I wonder though if this is my problem - My domain is still Windows 2012 and not Windows 2016. I was careful to try Windows 2016 servers first and never tried Windows 2012 servers.
But the fact is I really like Admin Center but I cannot use it yet.  The authentication issues, and getting all of my Win2K12 and Win2k16 servers into it is important but until it is fixed I need to stick with the methods of management that are working and easy.
Plus, the 60 day cert is really frustrating, and quite frankly insulting too.
=== END ===

2 thoughts on “Checking out Admin Center

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