In today’s Ask the Admin, I’ll show you how to set up the web-based server management tools for Windows Server 2016 TP4.
As part of the buzz around Windows Server Nano at last year’s Ignite conference, a set of web-based GUI management tools were also announced. While largely intended to make managing the headless Nano easier, the tools can also be used to manage Server Core. It’s important to understand that while in preview, the tools cannot be installed locally but are accessed from the Azure management portal. Microsoft may make the tools available as part of Azure Stack at a later date.
A server is required to act as a gateway to the devices you’d like to manage, so that might be a significant drawback. Don’t forget that these tools are designed for convenience and largely for big DevOps environments that will be deploying Nano in the future. If that’s not you, these tools might not be the right fit. Additionally, considering the tools are still in preview, setup involves jumping through enough hoops that unless you really need these tools right now, it might not be worth the effort.
In this preview, the tools offer the following features:
Before starting, you’ll need a minimum of two servers on the same local network. One server will act as a Server management tools gateway, and the second will be the server you want to manage using the tools. For the purposes of this demo, both servers will be deployed in Azure. For more information on how to deploy Windows Server VMs in Azure, see Deploy VMs Using Azure Resource Manager on Petri.
The server to be managed must be running Windows Server 2016 TP4 or later. The gateway server can be running Windows Server 2016 TP4 or Windows Server 2012 R2 with the Windows Management Framework (WMF) 5.0 installed. Both servers are members of an Active Directory domain.
To manage a server using the tools, you need to set up a connection object in Azure.
Once the connection has been created, a panel will appear in the management portal window showing the connection’s details. You’ll notice an error ‘Gateway not detected.’ To connect the gateway to the server specified during setup, you’ll need to perform some extra steps:
If the server you want to manage is not part of an Active Directory domain, you’ll need to add the server’s IP address to the Windows Remote Management (WinRM) TrustedHosts list on the gateway server using the set-item PowerShell cmdlet, replacing 10.0.0.4 with the IP address of the server you want to manage.
set-item wsman:\localhost\client\trustedhosts 10.0.0.4 -concatenate –force
Note that you if you specify an IP address using the set-item cmdlet, you must also specify an IP address when creating the connection object in Azure, as opposed to a computer name or Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN).