Windows Server 2008 R2's Improved Management Console - Page 2

 By Jabez Gan
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Active Directory Administrative Center

Figure 3: The ActiveDirectory Administrative Center Overview

For beginners, it is hard and confusing to learn the various Active Directory tools, including Active Directory Users and Computers, Active Directory Domains and Trusts, and Active Directory Sites and Services. Training was always needed for users of these tools—especially non-IT users—on how to manage and reset user account details.

Active Directory Administrative Center provides a one-stop management console to link up users based on the tasks, and the commonly used task is listed under the Overview. Modifying users or security groups is also another common tasks by system administrators, and that's the reason a global search field box is also part of the Overview.

Figure 4: The Active Directory Administrative Center in Windows 2008 R2

As organization grows, their Active Directory grows with them. Another common issue faced by system administrators is the ability to find objects, or filter objects based on search criteria. Active Director Administrative Center's biggest advantage is the ability to search, for easier manipulations by the system administrator.

Changing the forest/domain functional level can also be done through this new management tool.

IIS Manager

IIS Manager did not get a complete facelift, but major changes have been made from IIS 6 to IIS 7. IIS 7 is very modular, hence has task-based icons, simplifying management.

IIS7.5 which comes with Windows Server 2008 R2 focuses on improvements for faster Web application deployment and management. IIS 7.5 also has streamlined management capabilities that provide more ways to customize the Web serving environment.

One important change to highlight: FTP server is finally fully integrated with IIS 7.5. Another management console to manage the FTP server is no longer required.

Figure 5: IIS 7.5 Manager from Windows Server 2008 R2

As shown in figure 5, FTP Server role has been installed on Windows Server 2008 R2. On launching IIS Manager, a bunch of FTP options are now visible. FTP Server in this version also has support for FTPS, which allows to establish a secured FTP session. Personally I find this feature very welcome - finally we are able to send our FTP credentials in a secure format (unlike the traditional cleartext format).


The improved management consoles might not look significant as this is just an R2 release of Windows Server line. However I've highlighted the well-deserved changes made on manageability in Windows Server 2008 R2 and I believe that Microsoft has done a great job. These minor enhancements do not justify the upgrade to Windows Server 2008 R2, but it is a collection of minor enhancements which is going to justify the upgrade.

We are going to look into remote Powershell in our next article. Stay tuned!

This article was originally published on Mar 30, 2010
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