A new integration between Windows Admin Center and an Azure Automation service will soon allow users to update managed servers running on Microsoft’s cloud.
Available to members of the Windows Insider early-access program, a preview version of Windows Admin Center features integration with Azure Update Management. Released in April, Windows Admin Center is a free Windows Server and Windows 10 management tool intended to narrow the gap between PowerShell’s robust command-line interface and more user-friendly graphical tools such as (MMC).
Azure Update Management is a free service included as part of the Azure Automation management toolset that helps administrators keep their cloud-based servers up to date and with less manual intervention. Azure Update Management enables administrators to consolidate update deployment and management, sparing them from having to perform those tasks on a per-server basis.
Now, administrators can directly access Azure Update Management’s functionality directly from Windows Admin Center. The tool will also set up the necessary cloud monitoring components required to make the system work, Microsoft’s Dona Sarkar, head of the Windows Insider program and senior program manager Brandon LeBlanc, stated in a July 17 blog post.
“If you don’t already have an Azure Monitoring workspace in your Azure subscription, Windows Admin Center will automatically configure your server and create the necessary Azure resources in the subscription and location you specify,” wrote Sarkar and LeBlanc. “If you have an existing Azure Monitoring workspace, Windows Admin Center can automatically configure your server to consume updates from Azure Update Management.”
The process of registering a Windows Admin Center gateway with Azure, which provides the tool with access to Azure integrations, has also been streamlined with new setting that appears in the interface. Previously, this required users to download and run a PowerShell script.
Another new feature is the ability to select multiple virtual machines in the tool’s inventory page. This allows administrators to perform an action, such as shutting down a virtual machine, on several virtual machines at once. Similar multi-selection capabilities are being ported to other management experiences, including Local Users and Groups.
Windows Admin Center’s Files tool now allows users to add, remove and edit file shares. New user and group management options can be used to prevent unauthorized access to specified file shares.
Also new is the ability to filter server connections using tags and the tailor the results using queries (or, and or not). For security-conscious users, the server overview screen now shows the status of Windows Defender security software. Finally, the task scheduling feature now supports multiple triggers for more sophisticated implementations.
As with any beta software, bugs are part of the deal.
For now, users must manually refresh their Azure Update Management screens for the latest information. Users with other language settings may encounter non-localized text and those accessing Windows Admin Center using the Microsoft Edge Browser may cause Azure gateway connections to fail after opening a new browser tag.