Windows Server 2008 R2's Improved Management Console

With the release of Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft has improved the Microsoft Management Console, making it easier to provision network services, even for organizations with a shallow IT operation.

 By Jabez Gan
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Microsoft has long focused on providing easy-to-use server operating systems. An easy-to-use operating system allows users to do more with less steps, and has a standardized interface. With this in mind Microsoft has gathered feedback from users over time, resulting in improved management consoles.

So what has changed in the management consoles found in Windows Server 2008 R2? How have they changed and how are they better? We are going to look into the enhancements Microsoft has made.

What Are Management Consoles?

With Windows 2000, Microsoft introduced the Microsoft Management Console (MMC), which provides system administrators with a flexible interface through which they can configure and monitor their system. Since then, Windows administrative tools have been written around MMC.

Traditional management consoles have allowed only management of services—creating shared folders, for instance—but now it is possible to include real-time statistics, graphs and reports as part of the management consoles through snap-ins.

Improved Management Consoles in Brief

Let's introduce you to a few enhanced management consoles. These management consoles are built on Windows PowerShell, making the management consoles more powerful than ever. These consoles provide a standardized, graphical interface that simplifies administrative tasks and reduces overhead and costs associated with learning new tools. These tools have been reworked to be task-driven, enabling IT personnel to identify problems and take action immediately, regardless of whether the system is a physical, virtual, local or remote system.

Server Manager

Server Manager in Windows Server 2008 R2 hasn't had many changes from Windows Server 2008, except that it is now possible to do a remote management of server manager through Remote Server Administration Tool (RSAT). But if you are still in the Windows Server 2003 era, server manager is a replacement for Manage Your Server, Configure Your Server, and Add or Remove Windows Components. Server manager also eliminates the requirement of using Security Configuration Wizard, as server roles are configured with the recommended security settings by default.

Shown below in Figures 1 and 2 is the server manager management console. It is a one-stop management console to check on the overall health of all the server roles and features setup on the server.

Figure 1: The Server Manager in Windows Server 2008
Figure 2: The Server Manager in Windows Server 2008 R2

With the Server Manager found in Windows Server 2008 R2, you'll notice that there's an extra option to configure the server manager remote management. By running that tool, it will apply the necessary firewall settings for remote management of this server. This allows system administrators to monitor the health of all remote servers instantly by using their own workstation.

This article was originally published on Mar 30, 2010
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