Windows Admin Center Highlights

Microsoft released Windows Admin Center very recently. Apparently, this was in preview form called “Project Honolulu” for a bit, but it seems that that slipped under my radar. It’s disappointing that it did, because this solves practically of my issues with running Hyper-V server.

While you can use “Server Manager” in the RSAT tools to do a lot of remote admin tasks for Hyper-V server (and Server Core), there are still gaps that aren’t covered. Or, there are parts that you still need to load up an MMC console, powershell, or some other tool.

Windows Admin Center, in it’s current form,  covers a most of my needs for administration on Server and Server Core systems. I’ll still need to load Server Manager for some tasks, but not as frequently.

First, let’s start with install. This runs on your local machine. It runs a small webapp in your browser to manage your various servers and systems (Did I mention, it handles Windows 10 as well?). Nothing extra needs to be installed on your target systems, which is nice.

Once it is installed, it loads up your browser, and you are able to start either manually adding, or importing your systems.

Here are some highlights:

This is the main overview page. It’ll show you specs and current utilization of CPU/RAM/Network, as well as giving some minor commands like rebooting.

For Hyper-V Server and Server core systems, this next screen is a huge help. Finally, you have the ability to directly manage drivers and installed devices, without having to go through a third party tool. I know that PNPUTIL and others do give some control, but this is much easier to manage.

Want to quick check on firewall config, and tweak your rules? You can do that here:

Need to run a Powershell command, but don’t want to open up a separate powershell instance? That’s covered too! And, if you’re a more visual person, there’s an RDP client in there as well.


This next one is another perk for Hyper-V/Server Core users. Gotta run some Windows Updates? Pull up the Windows Update page, and select your needed patches.

Beyond those highlights, there’s some VM management stuff, and very basic storage management.

There are still some things that require RSAT tools (DHCP/AD/IIS/Storage Spaces), but this is definitely a much needed tool to have in one’s toolkit.

You can download it here.

Quick Thoughts on UNMS

As it is probably obvious by now, I run a Ubiquiti network at home. I’m using their Unifi products for Wifi, and their Edgemax series for Router/Switch as well as a Point-to-Point link. While I prefer the Edgemax series for options and features, I’ve always wished that they would have something like the Unifi management for them.

My wishes were answered with UNMS. It’s still in a very early beta, so not all functionality is there yet, but it’s got a lot of coverage so far.

Let’s dive in!

UNMS covers a lot of the non-Unifi product lines. It covers EdgeSwitch, EdgeRouter, AirMax and several of their fiber lines currently. In most cases, it does not offer full functionality for all of the individual features, but it covers enough to be useful.

At the main screen of the site, it’ll show your sites and their uptime, as well as any recent notifications or errored devices. I have 2 sites set up right now, with a VPN between them. One site has an Edgeswitch and an EdgeRouter, and the other site has an Edgerouter and 2 Airmax devices.

The drops that you see there are from the rather high latency that I have with the other site that I keep an eye on.

On the Sites screen, it gives you the option to pick which site you want to drill down into.

I’ve picked one location here, and it will show the devices attributed. You can see the hostname, model name, IP addresses, and more just at a glance. This is helpful to quickly assess a location for issues. It also will let you trigger a firmware upgrade from here. An up arrow next to the version number acts a visual aid for that.

On the “Data Links” page, you can see any links that exist between devices. Here, you can see that we have a Wireless P2P link on the AirMax devices, as well as what frequency they are using.

There are also pages to upload site photos, and to view all logs from the devices on the site.

Moving on to the main devices page, you can see all devices for all sites, with resource usage, as well as a quick update for all needed firmwares.

Let’s look at one of the routers, and see what all can be done with it.

Here, you can see all the interfaces that I’ve got configured on the router. It shows all VLANS, PPOE, and Ethernet interfaces. It does not, however, show OpenVPN at this time. It gives you a quick at-a-glance usage report for the interfaces, as well as any dropped packets that may have happened.

Not going to go into all the other options, but it does let you control routing, some services, logs, and statistics.

One main feature that I like is the backups. It will backup your devices settings on a frequency that you configure. This makes it easy to restore your settings if something goes wrong, or if you need to revert to a prior config.

It also has a built-in SSH terminal for the router which comes in handy.

Right now, the router coverage seems to be the most full-featured. The switches options are much fewer.

In case you’re curious, here’s what you get with the AirMax. It covers most of the settings at-a-glance as well. More options than the switches, but not as many as you get with the routers.

I’ll be talking more about UNMS in the days to come.

In the meantime, you can get it here: