Well, another summer has passed, kids are back in school and the folks here at Microsoft have been reeeeeeally busy getting the final touches on many, many new products.
One of those new products is our newest server Operating System – Windows Server 2012.
In case you hadn't heard, it recently was RTM'd (Released to Manufacturing). That means we sealed the code on our side and delivered it to our partners so they can finalize their drivers and other work against a 'locked down' OS. General availability of the OS is scheduled for September 4th. You HAVE signed up for the virtual launch event, haven't you?? http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/new.aspx
Similar to prior versions of our Server OS, once you get the new OS installed and logon for the first time, you are welcomed to your new server with a tool/interface to help you manage and configure the server.
The idea of a holistic in-the-box configuration and management tool for Windows Server has evolved over time. There were scattered tools in NT, while improvements in Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003 brought a more unified approach but I'd venture to say, those went mostly unused.
In Windows Server 2008, we introduced a drastically new Server Manager and I considered it pretty darn good except for the GLARING horror that one could not manage remote servers from it.
Windows Server 2008 R2 took what was good in 2008 and made it even better; it even added some management of remote servers (below).
ENTER WINDOWS SERVER 2012 SERVER MANAGER
Windows Server 2012 begins a new chapter in our server management story.
Let's discuss a few aspects of this newest Server Manager. This is not meant to be an end-to-end post but to spark your interest and curiosity.
First, I'll refer to the TechNet definition of the new Server Manager:
"… a management console in Windows Server® 2012 that helps IT professionals provision and manage both local and remote Windows-based servers from their desktops, without requiring either physical access to servers, or the need to enable Remote Desktop protocol (RDP) connections to each server."
Second, a few key points about the new Server Manager:
A WALK AROUND…
Once we log in (or 'sign in' as it's called now), Server Manager auto-launches and here is what we see - the 'Dashboard' view.
Issues and Status
Issues are readily seen and line items can be clicked for more information or to begin working issues directly from here
Important: The "status" and other monitoring aspects of Server Manager are helpful but are no replacement for a true monitoring system such as SCOM.
This TechNet article discusses some of the capacity measures and results that have been tested - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831453.aspx
CONFIGURATION OF THE LOCAL SERVER
Click the link to launch the Local Server configuration view (similar to the Initial Configuration Task view from 2008/R2):
Adding Roles and Features is now combined in a single Wizard
From this Wizard, you can add/remove Roles or Features on:
So, think about this - we can add the AD DS Role and run the complete Promotion Wizard including a reboot for a remote Server 2012 system.
NOTE: The "DESTINATION SERVER" field helps you keep track of where you're deploying the Role or Feature.
I mentioned the Server Pool above – here's how to add servers to it.
Now you can manage the remote server (HildeVM05 in the screen shot) from the local instance of Server Manager (running on HildeVM03)
There are Server Groups created for you based on Role(s) installed locally (i.e. AD DS) but you can also create your own grouping of servers and manage them from your Server Manager console.
Most of the tools you use are available via right-click of the server or via the "Tools" drop-down.
Limited legacy OS support is provided within Server Manager for remote systems - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh921475
BONUS TOPIC – Portability of your well-crafted custom Server Groups
Wouldn't it be handy to create one or more Server Groups and have access to them beyond a single machine?
This would be very helpful as you get into larger Server Groups or teams of people needing to manage multiple Server Groups.
Check out the guidance at the bottom of this article - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831456.aspx
You can copy Server Groups and Server Manager config, too across machines … just another slice of awesome-pie for you J
The Server Pool is an XML file called "serverList.XML" located in a user's profile and if you create custom Server Groups, they'll be in there, too:
There are several Event Viewer Logs for troubleshooting Server Manager under "Applications and Services Logs"
I could go on and on, telling you all about Service alerts, Performance trending, Best Practice Analyzer Scans, etc but I don't want to spoil all your fun.
Here are some links – go forth and learn MORE!
Remote server management with Server Manager - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831456.aspx
How to do common tasks - http://technet.microsoft.com/library/hh831491.aspx
Windows Server 2012 on TechNet - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsserver/hh534429.aspx
Windows Server 2012 Technical Library - http://technet.microsoft.com/library/hh801901.aspx
Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate Server Manager PDF - http://download.microsoft.com/download/2/E/C/2EC3EA6D-4EE8-4A0F-9CB2-704C9B60305C/WS%202012%20White%20Paper_Server%20Management.pdf