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
A few workds about Server Core: guys at work call me 'black screen admin', referring to my extensive use of cmd, but I still don't see Server Core out there... because there still are tasks you can do via GUI ONLY! I hope I simply don't know how to do it... but how do you change NIC binding order via CMD? or check NIC driver version and update it? Oh, and one more, how about Regional Settings configuration via cmd? Last, but not least, working with Windows Firewall can be done via netsh, but I still prefer WinFW!
And this is only talking about native Windows stuff, not even beginning to touch 3rd party agents (monitoring, backup, antivirus), which I, while being an optimist, see impossible to manage on Server Core!
A handy way to restart the server is
shutdown -r -t 0 -f -m \\SERVER -c "Go down!"
Jose - you point out the great "shutdown" command/switch options; I know some folks even create shortcuts on the desktop with those commands/switches.
In terms of the specific server core management comments, I'll need to dig into these a bit....stay tuned for an update. I do recall there were some daunting tasks on 2008/R2 versions of core and there are possibly still some tasks that require a 3-line NETSH command on 2012 but let me research and follow up.
In general, though, the idea is to use the Server Manager 2012 UI to manage all remote installs (no UI, minimal UI, full UI) of Server 2012 systems for most tasks. Thanks for the comments!
Jose, I have not changed NIC binding order via CMD, but updated drivers using DevCon.exe command-line utility from Windows Driver Kit Version 7.1.0 (to be honest on Hyper-v server 2008 r2). There is Windows Driver Kit 8 in which, I believe, DevCon.exe for 2012 is included.
Posting links to some Powershell v3.0 improvements for NIC management:
Posting a link to a CODEPLEX tool which enables binding order changes from CMD:
* note this can be done via several registry edits
For the regional settings, we use - even in core - INTL.CPL. This UI is still 'there' and allows you to define those settings.
@Michael, thanks for showing alternative ways for doing things! nvspbind looks really promising!
BTW, although new cmd-lets for networking seem nice, the question here is if those cmd-lets will have complete functionality that you can achieve using GUI/WMI. Because of this same reason PS2 service cmd-lets where useless... (try getting service startup account with them), and I ended up employing WMI, as done always in VBS.
Another question - is there any .cpl usage reference? Because I remember once changing codepage this way, and it was waaaay far from obvious...
Powershell is still a youngster and always improving (look at the CMDLet count in 2008 > 2008 R2 > 2012). Given that, there are still things that require either the GUI or personal creativity to accomplish via CMD/Powershell.
As far a .CPL reference, since those are each unique UIs, I am not aware of a universal reference for how to use each one. I'd start with the HELP associated w/ each CPL applet. A few examples: NCPA.CPL (opens network dialog), POWERCFG.CPL (opens power options), TIMEDATE.CPL (opens time/date UI).
Michael, launching various .CPL files I consider relatively easy as you can browse them in \windows\system32\*.cpl. When I was talking about "far from obvious", I had in mind this, for example:
rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL intl.cpl,,0
which opens Regional Settings properties.
Same syntax can be used for modifying, which I did in the past with great success, but, once again, I haven't seen any reference indicating what, where and how, hence I prefer sticking with a full GUI instead of Server Core, until there are tasks like this that mess up your life if you don't have GUI.
A couple more updates for remote server management issues - thanks Jake!
Are there any command-line switches to ServerManager that we can use to shortcut into wizards? For instance, to have ServerManager start and automatically start the Add Roles and Features Wizard (instead of having to start ServerManager, then click "Manage" and "Add Roles and Features")? That might be a handy shortcut to have on the desktop.
There are a couple of PowerShell cmdlets pertaining to Server Manager that can be pretty handy.
Install-WindowsFeature -Name Web-Server -IncludeAllSubFeature -IncludeManagementTool -ComputerName Server1 -Credential contoso.com\johnj99
Darklurker - Rick's points about the PowerShell cmdlets are spot-on.
The SERVERMANAGERCMD command-line tool from 2008/R2 is deprecated in 2012 and I don't see anyway to kick off the Add/Remove Roles and Features Wizard outside of Server Manager.
Hopefully, once a given system has been deployed, there won't be a lot of instances where folks will be needing to Add/Remove Roles and/or Features very frequently.
Nice article Michael. I have a quick question if you don't mind. You mention that "Server Manager has numerous ways to view/export/import Powershell scripts, commands, histories and input files" Can you quickly point out a couple of those ways? I'm aware of the PowerShell history in the Active Directory Administrative Center in 2012 but I'm not aware of other management tools that show the PowerShell equivalent.
Hi Josh - a couple of examples of PoSH 'nuggets' within Server Manager:
Fire-up the Add Roles and Features Wizard on a test system and begin to add a Role/Feature, such as AD DS.
As you progress through the Wizard, on the last page (BEFORE YOU CLICK INSTALL), there is a light blue 'link' at the bottom-left that reads 'Export configuration settings' - this will produce an XML file you can save called 'DeploymentConfigTemplate' (by default). That file can be consumed as input to the PoSH CMDlets to Add the Role with the same options on subsequent deployments of AD DS. The syntax to use the file is listed for you if you hover over the text. At this point, you can cancel out of the Wizard without adding the Role bits and no changes have been made to your system.
After you've deployed the Role 'bits' to your test system, you can export a PosH script file that can be used to promote a server to a DC with the options you select as you walk through the GUI Wizard (you will likely need to edit certain attributes within the script, though). On the "Review Options" page of the ADDS Deployment Wizard, there is a button at the bottom called 'View script' that will pop-out an instance of NOTEPAD with actual PoSH code that can be saved as a PS1 file and directly run via PowerShell.
While this can be done without actually making the target system a DC, use caution and a test system to generate the 'meat' of these files so you don't impact production.
Go forth and prosper with PowerShell, my friend!