This article contains some information from Windows 8. Windows 8 is currently in beta and there’s no guarantee that the final product will behave the same or contain the same features. Nothing in Windows 8 is final and everything is subject to change.
Ok, going on from part 1 where I introduced the new server manager in Windows 8 server beta. The best part is coming right up, and that’s the approach Microsoft have put into centralized management of several servers, also those that are not in your AD.
Notice the “All Servers” link on the left side? By right-clicking there or in the “manage” menu on the top-right, you can add other Windows 8 Servers to manage. These can be in the same or another Active Directory or they can be standalone servers. When the new servers are added, several cool things happen. The servers are added to “all servers” as a list where you can see basic information as IP, events, services, BPA results and even a simple performance monitor on each server. Additionally the server manager automatically creates a group for each server role and group the servers by their installed roles. And the servers are moved in and out of these groups on the fly when you add or remove roles. Ref the screenshot below you can see that I have serves that are AD, DNS, DHCP etc and when you navigate into each group you see only the servers, services and event that are relevant to that group. A real life example would be that you’ll automatically have all your Win8 Domain Controllers grouped and if you navigate into this group you will only see the domain controller-relevant services and events and you don’t have to filter out those services and events yourself. That is really awesome when you have to troubleshoot or just do a quick health inspection.
Another magic part in the new server manager is when you right-click a server you’ve added. Here you find everything you need for remote management. All role-spesific tools depending on which roles the server has installed. You can also remotely reboot, add roles and features, start up powershell or an rdp-session. You can even configure NIC teaming from here. As I just wrote, everything you need for remote management.
By default Windows 8 Server are installed as a Server Core and I think it is a really good move. Now that Server Manager gives you basically everything you need for remote management you can have your servers in either “Core” or “minimal interface” configuration and manage it all from your workstation. Server Manager and powershell will probably suit all your needs, and should you absolutely need a GUI you can always add it and then remove it after you’re done with it.
Next time I’ll show and explain Server Core, minimal interface and full interface versions of Windows Server 8.