Windows Admin Center 1910 is a huge release, including many great new features. Let's take a look at them.
Contents of this article

Windows Admin Center is the biggest news in Windows management tools since the introduction of PowerShell. It provides a very modern, modular application design that offers easy access and tremendous extensibility.

In conjunction with Microsoft's Ignite 2019 event, Microsoft released a new version of Windows Admin Center, version 1910. With this release, there are many great new features to talk about that help to make Windows administration with WAC even better.

New features ^

Let's take a look at the following new features found in Windows Admin Center 1910.

  1. New user interface enhancements
  2. Connectivity
  3. Security
  4. New extensions
  5. Hybrid cloud features
  6. HCI enhancements
  7. Third-party ecosystem

User interface enhancements

Windows Admin Center includes several enhancements to the user interface. Now, when you add a new server, cluster, or HCI resource to Windows Admin Center, you are presented with a new screen to Add Resources to Windows Admin Center. Select from the following options:

  • Windows Server
  • Windows PC
  • Windows Server Cluster
  • Azure VM
New Add Resources screen in Windows Admin Center 1910

New Add Resources screen in Windows Admin Center 1910

This leads to some really great "wizardized" improvements to create otherwise complex Windows Sever entities, including Storage Spaces Direct clusters and others.

Connectivity

Microsoft has added a nice feature for those who may not want their Windows Admin Center to hit the internet for any reason, or have a scoped connection profile where only Azure resources can be reached from the Windows Admin Center. Note – This is for Windows Admin Center and not the entire Windows Server.

Navigate to Settings > Internet Access. Three radio buttons are available:

  • Full internet access
  • Azure services only
  • No internet access

In addition, Microsoft displays the specific resources that Windows Admin Center connects to when you scope it to Azure services only.

Controlling internet access for Windows Admin Center

Controlling internet access for Windows Admin Center

Security

There is a subtle new security enhancement for Windows Admin Center connections. You can force the WinRM connection to use HTTPS. During the installation of Windows Admin Center 1910, you can choose the Use WinRM over HTTPS only setting.

Windows Admin Center 1910 allows forcing WinRM over HTTPS only

Windows Admin Center 1910 allows forcing WinRM over HTTPS only

New extensions

This is the area where we can get really excited about Windows Admin Center – extensions. In this release, there are many new, really great extensions. In conjunction with the new user interface workflows mentioned earlier, there are the following new extensions:

  • Cluster creation (preview)
  • Performance monitor (preview)
  • Security

The new extensions are easily installed by checking Available Extensions, highlight the extension you want to install, and then clicking Install. After installing, you can verify the installation on the Installed Extensions tab.

New Windows Admin Center 1910 extensions

New Windows Admin Center 1910 extensions

Cluster Creation Wizard makes creating clusters in Windows Admin Center 1910 easy

Below is an image of the new performance monitor extension that you can install in the new Windows Admin Center 1910. This major overhaul of the legacy Performance Monitor utility is the first major revamp in decades.

New Windows Admin Center 1910 Performance Monitor

New Windows Admin Center 1910 Performance Monitor

Hybrid cloud extensions

Microsoft continues to add major hybrid integration in Windows Admin Center, blurring the lines between on-premises and Azure. This trend will continue as the move to the cloud is emphasized by all vendors, including Microsoft. Microsoft does this in Windows Admin Center by adding many new "hybrid cloud" extensions that facilitate easily making the connection between on-premises and Azure environments. This includes many Azure specific extensions:

  • Azure Arc for servers
  • Azure Security Center
  • Azure File Sync
  • Azure Monitor
  • Storage Migration Service
  • Azure Cloud Shell
  • Azure Extended Network
Hybrid Cloud Extensions in Windows Admin Center 1910

Hybrid Cloud Extensions in Windows Admin Center 1910

HCI enhancements

The new HCI enhancements that are part of Windows Admin Center 1910 are mainly due to the new Cluster Creation extension mentioned above. Microsoft's HCI solution, including Storage Spaces Direct and software-defined networking, have been difficult to configure. In the past, this has involved many PowerShell scripts and very convoluted documentation.

Microsoft aims to resolve this with the new Hyperconverged cluster option in the new Cluster Creation extension. It provides a wizard-driven workflow that handles most of the heavy lifting to get the HCI cluster provisioned and configured correctly. As you can see below, the Cluster Creation process breaks the configuration into four major areas:

  1. Getting started
  2. Networking
  3. Clustering
  4. Storage

This will be a major step forward in configuring and provisioning Windows Hyperconverged clusters.

New HCI Cluster creation helps build hyperconverged infrastructure with Windows Admin Center 1910

New HCI Cluster creation helps build hyperconverged infrastructure with Windows Admin Center 1910

Third-party ecosystem

Microsoft continues to partner with new third-party solutions for integration into Windows Admin Center. Partners in the Microsoft ecosystem are jumping on the bandwagon of Windows Admin Center and developing new extensions for their products for WAC integration. The list continues to grow and currently includes vendors such as:

  1. DataON
  2. Dell
  3. Fujitsu
  4. HPE
  5. Lenovo
  6. NEC
  7. Pure Storage

Again, integrations continue to be added.

Third party extensions available for Windows Admin Center 1910

Third party extensions available for Windows Admin Center 1910

Conclusions ^

Windows Admin Center 1910 is a milestone release in the evolution of this new graphical Windows Server management tool. Microsoft continues to invest heavily in development resources for the product and it is starting to show. Windows Admin Center is the tool to manage your Windows Server infrastructure moving forward and will no doubt bypass the legacy tools at some point in the future.

It is great to see that third-party vendors are developing integrations for Windows Admin Center as well. Its modular design allows integrations that are simply not possible with the legacy tools. Download the latest Windows Admin Center here.

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