Windows Admin Center Insider Preview 1806 released.

First, an explanation of our two version options:

  • Preview version: For IT admins who want the latest and greatest features on a regular cadence, this version is for you. Windows Admin Center Preview 1806 is the first post-GA preview release, and our intent is to provide subsequent update releases every month or so. The core platform continues to be production-ready and the license provides production use rights. However, note that you will see the introduction of new tools and capabilities which are clearly marked as PREVIEW and are suitable for evaluation and testing.
  • GA version: For IT admins who are not able to update frequently or who want more validation time for the releases they use in production, this version is for you. Our 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 coverage.

Release Summary

This first post-GA preview release of Windows Admin Center is packed with new functionality, including:

  • View/copy the PowerShell scripts that Windows Admin Center is using under the hood.
  • Manage Windows Server 2008 R2 connections with a limited set of tools (another big customer request)
  • New tools to manage your Software Defined Network (SDN) in Hyper-Converged Cluster Manager
  • New Scheduled Tasks tool (in preview; see below for known issues)
  • Other new features include an update notification dialog, multiple extension feeds, and a new option to redirect web traffic from port 80. See below for details.
  • Improvements to some existing features: gateway settings page, notifications, connection tag editing experience, and extension management experience

New Functionality

View script

We have delivered the #1 customer request on our UserVoice group: show the PowerShell used by Windows Admin Center. You can now navigate to a tool, click the PowerShell icon in the upper-right app bar, and select a command of interest from the dropdown to navigate to the corresponding PowerShell script. The text is shown with syntax coloring and automatically selected for you to copy.

Limited support for Windows Server 2008 R2 connections

We have added support, with limited functionality, to manage 2008 R2 servers. Adding a 2008 R2 connections has the same dependency on WMF 5.1 as 2012 and 2012 R2. The remote desktop tool is currently not available due to a bug in the HTML RD client – this should be fixed in a future release. Some other tools will not be available due to platform limitations or architectural differences.

You can use the following tools to manage your 2008 R2 servers:

  • Overview
  • Events
  • Local Users & Groups
  • Processes
  • Registry
  • Services
  • PowerShell

Update notification dialog

The first time a user connects after an instance of Windows Admin Center has been updated, they will see a dialog letting them know that it has been updated. This is beneficial for end users that otherwise may not know that the gateway has been updated, or for users who have opted to let the gateway be updated by Microsoft Update.

New tool – Scheduled Tasks

In the Scheduled Tasks tool, you can view, edit, enable/disable, start/stop, and create scheduled tasks. This tool is currently in preview. Currently the supported task triggers are daily, once, at logon, and at startup. You are limited to creating and editing only 1 trigger per task.

The known issues are primarily a lack of form validation and error message formatting.

New tool – Virtual Networks (in Hyper-Converged Cluster Manager)

If you deployed Software Defined Network (SDN) in your hyper-converged environment, you can now monitor and manage virtual networks in the Virtual Network Tool. You can create, modify and configure virtual networks and subnets. You can also view VM connections to the virtual network subnets and access control lists applied to virtual network subnets.

This tool is currently in preview.

New tool – SDN Monitoring (in Hyper-Converged Cluster Manager)

If you deployed Software Defined Network (SDN) in your hyper-converged environment, you can now monitor your SDN infrastructure in the SDN monitoring tool. You can monitor the state of the SDN services and infrastructure in real-time. You can view detailed information about the health of Network Controller, Software Load Balancer, Virtual Gateway and monitor your Virtual Gateway Pool, Public and Private IP Pool usage and SDN host status.

This tool is currently in preview.

Port 80 redirection option

When installing Windows Admin Center as a gateway service, you can choose to redirect traffic from port 80 to the port configured for the HTTPS Windows Admin Center connection.

Updated Functionality

Editing connection tags

Tags are now easier to edit! You can select one or many connections and then select “Edit tags” to easily modify the tags for selected connections.

Extension manager improvements

Several improvements have been made to Extension manager – You will be notified of available updates to installed extensions and you can now update extensions with a single button click. Also, Extension manager now supports multiple extension feeds, so that you can easily host an internal or private feed while still having the public feed available.

Hyper-Converged Cluster Connection supports SDN

Hyper-Converged Cluster Connection now supports Software Defined Networking (SDN). By adding a Network Controller REST URI to your Hyper-Converged cluster connection, you can use Hyper-converged Cluster Manager to manage your SDN resources and monitor SDN infrastructures.

This feature is currently in preview.  SDN environments with Kerberos authentication for Northbound communication are not supported in this preview.

Virtual Machines (in Hyper-Converged Cluster Manager)

If you deployed Software Defined Network (SDN) in your hyper-converged environment, you can now connect a new virtual machine to a virtual network during VM creation. You can connect an existing virtual machine to a virtual network by changing the network settings of the virtual machine.

This feature is currently in preview.  Connecting virtual machine to an SDN logical network is not supported in this preview release.

Gateway settings

Windows Admin Center has updated the gateway settings (gear icon in the upper right.) Settings are now split between user-level and gateway-level settings. A change to a user-level setting only affects the current user’s profile, while a change to a gateway-level setting affects all users on that Windows Admin Center gateway. Only users with administrative access to the gateway can view and change gateway-level settings. Extension configuration is always visible. The Account section shows which user account was used to sign in to the gateway. The Language section now also allows customization of the Region for date/time format customization. The Access section has also been updated to improve clarity.

Notification updates

Notifications now update in-place, so you won’t see multiple toasts for the same process – they’ll just update as the status of the process changes. The notification pane now also groups notifications by type so you can easily see All, Error & Warning, Active, or Info notifications.

Known issues

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 connections – The remote desktop tool is currently not available due to a bug in the HTML RD client.
  • Scheduled Tasks – Lack of form validation and error message formatting.
  • SDN – SDN environments with Kerberos authentication for Northbound communication are not supported in this preview.
  • VMs on HCI – Connecting virtual machine to an SDN logical network is not supported in this preview release.