Microsoft Intros Web-Based Management Tools With Nano Server Support

By Pedro Hernandez  |  Posted 2016-02-11 Print this article Print
Microsoft Server Management Tools for Windows Server

A beta version of the Server Management Tools for Windows Server includes support for Microsoft's lightweight OS for the cloud.

Administrators have a new cloud-based option when it comes to managing Nano Servers.

Announced last year alongside Microsoft's homegrown container platform, Nano Server is a stripped-down version of Windows Server intended for the cloud and other environments where stability, security and speed are prized above a comprehensive feature set. Leaner than even the Server Core option for Windows Server, Nano Server runs more efficiently by dispensing with the graphical user interface (GUI), 32-bit software support and other components found in the typical installation. The system software was first released to the public as part of Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 2.

As of this week, admins can preview a new set of tools to configure and monitor their container-friendly Nano Servers with a new public preview of Server Management Tools.

Hosted on Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform, "server management tools offer a set of Web-based GUI and command-line tools to manage Windows Servers," said Kriti Jindal, a program manager with Microsoft's Server Management Tools group. "These tools also provide rapid access to your on-premises infrastructure alongside your Azure resources."

Server Management Tools require an Azure subscription and can be found in the Azure Marketplace under the Management category. The tools support only Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview builds (on-premises or in an Azure virtual machine) in their current state.

To get the ball rolling, Microsoft released "a preliminary set of tools that are required for basic server diagnostics," said Jindal, including event-log viewing. Administrators can also view and change a server's system configuration, manage attached devices and use the PowerShell console to automate and manage tasks.

"If this is the first Server management tools connection you are creating, you will also need to choose to create a new Server management tools gateway and give it a name. You will be prompted to complete the gateway configuration after the Server management tools connection is created, Jindal explained.

Gateway software is required to connect the Web-based toolset with on-premises servers. "A gateway is typically deployed and configured on the same local network as the Windows Server machine(s) you wish to manage. The machine must have an Internet connection," said Jindal.

Since Nano Server's debut, Microsoft has been steadily expanding support for the fledgling OS.

In November, Microsoft announced the availability of Nano Server as an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) image in the Azure Gallery. Last month, the company announced that it had ported Internet Information Services (IIS) to Nano Server.

"As of the most recent Technical Preview (4), I'm pleased to announce that IIS is now available as a role in Nano Server, for everyone to try out," David So, a Microsoft IIS team member, wrote in a Jan. 26 blog post. "With smaller memory and dramatically smaller disk footprint, Web workloads are particularly suited to running on Nano Server, especially for high-density hosting."


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