Microsoft Adds More Azure Cloud Tools to Windows Admin Center Preview

Microsoft is continuing to add features to Windows Admin Center, including a new Azure cloud tools and features for remote component management.

Windows Admin Center Azure Tools

As the next Microsoft Windows Admin Center release approaches general availability later this year, Microsoft is continuing development on the Windows Admin Center Preview 1808 version with a number of new features aimed at improving tools and configuration options for IT administrators.

The latest additions to Windows Admin Center were announced in an Aug. 14 post by Microsoft staffers Dona Sarkar and Brandon LeBlanc in The Windows Blogs.

Included in the updates and improvements are a new Apps & Features extension that allows Administrators to remotely manage the components that are installed on their Windows deployments, an updated task scheduler with new weekly and monthly triggers along with support for multiple triggers. Expanded file sharing is supported in multiple tools, including the Files tool and the Storage tool, wrote Sarkar and LeBlanc.

"Much of the work in this release was under the hood—we are implementing new infrastructure to support future scenarios and improving the experience for the Azure Site Recovery and Azure Update Management hybrid scenarios," they wrote.

As part of those improvements, server settings such as environment variables, remote desktop and RBAC [Role-Based Access Control] settings are now available as a standalone tool at the bottom of the tool list in the Server Manager.

Hyper-V host settings are also available on standalone servers and clusters with Hyper-V enabled, according to the post. The latest Hyper-V host settings on a cluster allows administrators to change configurations across all cluster nodes at once, which was not possible in previous versions.

Also getting an update is the recently released Azure Update Management support feature, which previously was only usable from a Windows Admin Center installation on a desktop. In the latest preview version, the feature now works regardless of where Windows Admin Center has been deployed, adding versatility for administrators.

For use with Hyper-Converged clusters, the Drives > Summary page now provides additional useful information for administrators, including the recommended reserve capacity to help set storage volume sizes for optimal use, according to the post.

Also included are two new charts showing the hit rate of the Storage Spaces Direct read cache and how full the write cache is, along with explanatory tooltips, links to documentation and other help to make it all easier to understand and configure available storage.

The Preview Version of Windows Admin Center is aimed at IT administrators who want to review the latest features on a regular schedule, so they can incorporate the changes into their evaluation and testing systems and get early peeks at new ideas, according to Microsoft.

The General Availability releases are aimed at IT administrators who are not able to update frequently or who want more validation time for the releases they use in production. The current GA release is Windows Admin Center 1804.25. Later this year, several months’ worth of preview releases will culminate in another GA release once new functionality receives broader validation, according to Microsoft.

Also getting its own updates is the preview version of the Windows Admin Center SDK, including the addition of a command line interface to enable easy creation of tools and applications, a new ability to target different SDK versions, and updated publishing options.

The Windows Admin Center Preview 1808 version can be downloaded by registered Microsoft Insiders users from the Windows Server Insider Preview download page, under the Additional Downloads dropdown.