Shortly after releasing Windows Admin Center (WAC) 2103, Microsoft released the minor update 2103.2. It introduces some interesting new features, mainly for Azure Stack HCI, but other tools also benefit from it.

WAC 2103 included several innovations for core modules, such as Hyper-V management, and new system functions, such as auto-update or pop-out tools. Its successor, 2103.2, focuses on managing hyperconverged clusters based on Azure Stack HCI. Since WAC 1910, they can be set up using WAC's own wizard, but the wizard still cannot create hyperconverged infrastructures based on Windows Server 2019 and Storage Spaces Direct (S2D).

CAU for Azure Stack HCI ^

Version 2103.2 now offers the option of updating HCI clusters. The Admin Center uses cluster-aware updating (CAU) to orchestrate the installation of updates and any necessary reboots of the nodes.

The Update module now also supports hyperconverged clusters under Azure Stack HCI

The Update module now also supports hyperconverged clusters under Azure Stack HCI

With this feature, users can also update their lab environment to the preview of Azure Stack HCI 21H2 announced for June (see this blog post for an overview of new features). To get it, you have to join the preview channel first.

Access to Azure Stack HCI 21H2 will soon be available via the Preview Channel

Access to Azure Stack HCI 21H2 will soon be available via the Preview Channel

The relevant option can be found in the settings of the ASHCI cluster. In my test, however, the corresponding button was still grayed out, even for a registered cluster.

Deployment of a Kubernetes cluster ^

Microsoft is positioning Azure Stack HCI as the preferred on-prem platform for running Kubernetes clusters. In this regard, WAC 2103.2 offers an important new feature, namely, a deployment wizard for the Azure Kubernetes Service. This allows both management and workload clusters to be set up for Kubernetes.

The Azure Kubernetes Service is now set up using a seven step wizard

The Azure Kubernetes Service is now set up using a seven step wizard

In addition, the container extension is now able to deploy workloads to the Azure Kubernetes Service in the cloud or on Azure Stack HCI.

Extension for W32Time ^

Apart from the management of hyperconverged clusters, the biggest new feature of WAC 2301.2 is an extension for the Windows Time Service. Currently still in preview, it allows time synchronization to be configured for machines in a domain.

The extension for the time service is available as a preview and must be installed separately

The extension for the time service is available as a preview and must be installed separately

As usual, in the Admin Center, only individual hosts can be managed; hence, in larger networks, you will continue to use a GPO to control the system time of the computers. The new module also checks to see if the current configuration meets the time service requirements for high-accuracy time synchronization.

Update for new event viewer ^

In WAC 2103, Microsoft introduced a preview of the newly developed event tool that enables filtering logs using several predefined criteria. However, this version still lacks the possibility of displaying event details. The current update fixes this shortcoming.

The updated Events module is now also able to display event details

The updated Events module is now also able to display event details

Availability ^

Windows Admin Center 2103.2 is not a preview, but is once again an official release. Therefore, you can download it from Microsoft's Evaluation Center after you register.

If you want to update the WAC from 2103 to 2103.2, you can use the new auto-update for this. Click the question mark symbol on the top right to open a sidebar, where the admin center shows an available upgrade.

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The update from WAC 2103 to 2103.2 can only be installed on a scheduled basis

The update from WAC 2103 to 2103.2 can only be installed on a scheduled basis

Currently, however, this can only be installed by scheduling the update, whereby the WAC insists on a delay of about a quarter of an hour. An option for immediate update is missing, but should be available in 2103.2.

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