New toys : #Azure Web-Based Server Management Tools , And It’s A Lot!!!!!

The Azure boys keep amazing me, especially the guys who co-operate with the Windows Server boys. As of today there’s a new toolset in Azure available for the Sys admins amongst us. Server Management Tools, a web based Server admin toolbox giving you almost all the necessary basics to manage windows Servers from within the Azure Portal, including PowerShell! It’s like having your own Batman Utility Belt (except maybe for the Shark Repellant Bat Spray). Let’s see what’s in the utility belt and how to enable it! You can find the official announcement here : http://blogs.technet.com/b/nanoserver/archive/2016/02/09/server-management-tools-is-now-live.aspx

as an additional reference and complementary post you should also check out Thomas Maurer’s (@ThomasMaurer) blogpost on how you can leverage this to manage Nano : Manage Nano Server and Windows Server from Azure using Remote Server Management Tools

 

 

First lets localize the thing itself. If you do a browse on the portal capabilities, you will find the 2 new icons almost at the bottom:

It’s Server management tools and Server management tools gateway. As you can see in the image below the Service itself connects over the gateway in a secure manner to the different VM’s you want/need to manage/diagnose:

 

This gateway is something you need to deploy yourself and will be managed from on a Windows Server. Do note that the pre-req is having WMF 5.0 installed, thus amost implying Windows Server 2016, but then again this can be done on Server 2012 R2 too (if the RTM WMF 5.0 is back available that is).

Creating the service itself is fairly easy:

Browse -> Server Management Tools conections -> Add (+) -> and then enter either the FQDN, IPv4 or even the IPv6 address of the machine (pretty neat huh)

Create or reuse a resource group and also create a gateway (if you don’t have one yet) . For now the Location is only from Ceantral an East US.

And then just click ok.

The creation is almost instant

Once created you’ll see the “machine” available.

And the gateway too

Taking a deeper look at the Gateway you can see what version and status exists at that moment

In the machine itself (so the management service blade you’ll see this:

Since I haven’t deployed the Gateway itself yet, let’s get that to work:

On the gateway or the management service blade click either the Setup setting or the Blue Ribbon on the machine itself (see above iage): this will open a blade explaining all the steps necessary:

Click on the “Generate a package link” and immediately download the package zip. This contains an MSI and a .json file and needs to be deployed on the gateways server. Do note that this link is based upon a SAS token with a limited availability period. (btw when unzipping the file, DON’T FORGET TO UNBLOCK THE ZIP FIRST!).

Now upload the json and msi to a machine which will act as the GW. (easiest: just use an Azure File Share ;-) ). Then run the MSI on the machine. It’s just 3 easy steps :

And

Once that’s done you’ll get another tile enable in the gatway blade with all the gateway info

On the server itself (so that other blade/page) , you now need to log in with a user capable of managing the machine

Click Manage As and enter the credentials

Once done you can get started! J immediately you see all the crucial information of the VM appearing in the management tiles. Pretty sleek. Giving you an overview of all the things that you have in a standard process and/or taskmanager.

Hitting Settings enables all the capabilities and gives you the tools you want

Properties gives you the machine overview

Computer ID the identity of the machine

You can also add additional local admins on the machine (either Workgroup/local or AD users)

The IP properties also allow you to clear DNS settings / flushing, and manage the IP’s (statc / dynamic)

The goal will also be to configure Windows Update from here in the (near) future

One thing that isn’t enable by default is disk metrics

Enabling it will prompt you If you want to and a warning:

When activated you get a wealth of info :

With details in drilldown

The cool stuff happens when you click on the CPU tile:

It opens a CPU blade, showing you all the metrics per CPU , the number of processors et all. Nothing much special you might say, but when looking at the Metric table you see a small arrow next to the number of processes:

This opens up the process/task manager and you can actually start and stop processes from here. I did this just for fun: opening an RDP and then running the notepad process from wihin the portal as so

When looking at the task manager in the RDP session you could indeed see the process being started and running (of course this will not show up as this is another session and thus background, see the highlighted one)

From the memory perspective you get the basics, giving you enough insights on what’s memory related thus far (although a profile in the portal wouldn’t be bad J )

The Ethernet points you again to the NIC’s

But with bandwidth and network details infoJ.

The tools themselves are the mere basics, but still pretty nice, especially the event viewer which allows you to check all the events generated in your machines

The Device Manager allows you to disable devices (as in windows) and maybe helping you out with bad drivers

The registry editor is exactly that and allows you to add and remove keys (be careful though)

The roles and features gives you the full windows features and roles list, but nothing more at the moment.

The services then again are manageable and could be used to start and stop services. Unfortunately you cannot change the startup type (yet).

You can however specify the query and thus the results, thus enabling you to get a quick overview of all stopped services for instance.

And then last but not least: a PowerShell web gateway J

And they’ve actually added some cool stuff in here. Like the command browser (as you know it from the ISE) and a script editor allowing you to write PowerShell scripts.

The command browser work exactly as in ISE, allowing you to fill out all the parameters and then push back the full command to the host J . so you have NO MORE EXCUSE to NOT use PowerShell J.

As you can see, most basic tools for troubleshooting or at least getting the information are available in here, although I’d like to believe this is only the beginning J.

Hope you found this useful.

TTYL

Techmike2KX:

PS: I found my muze again J, so expect more blogposts J

3 thoughts on “New toys : #Azure Web-Based Server Management Tools , And It’s A Lot!!!!!

  1. Pingback: Manage Nano Server and Windows Server from Azure using Remote Server Management Tools | Thomas Maurer

  2. But how to add additional servers, every article seems to stop at just the gateway device.

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