In my previous blogpost I talked about which 10 reasons I would blog. Now the first one is Server Management Improvements.
Server Management Improvements – Installation and Initial Configuration
To start I wanted to point out that we’ve simplified the Server Installation procedure. My Longhorn server will be a Virtual one running on my freshly installed Virtual PC 2007. Let’s take a look at the installation procedure:
After booting my virtual machine with a Longhorn ISO file the installation procedure started.
Basically you have to select which language you want the Longhorn server, the Time and Currency and the keyboard language.
In the two following screens you hit the “Install Now” button and fill in the product key. You don’t even have to fill in the product key this can be added after the installation procedure. So far nothing really new or special but the Next step is where we get to choose which version of Longhorn we want to install. You have the choice between a normal or a server core installation.
I have chosen to install the Standard Edition, however in a future blogpost where I will talk about server core I will need to select Server Core. It’s a choice you have to make because it’s either a Full version or a Server Core version no up- or downgrade possible. I’ll explain the server core in the near future.
The last step is to select or create the partition where you want to install the server onto and start the actual installation. 25 Minutes later the server rebooted and I can start configuring the server.
By default the Administrator account has been created and the account has no password. Just hit ctrl+alt+del and hit enter to login and do the initial configuration of the server. You see the installation procedure has been simplified we don’t need to watch the setup screen and wait until the installation procedure ask us to configure the keyboard, etc, etc.
Now it’s when the new part of Longhorn server simplified setup/server management comes into action. The first time you login onto your server box you will receive this “Initial Configuration Tasks” window. Remember when you needed to configure a Windows 2003 server which different tasks and each on different locations and/or management tools you had to use. Now with Longhorn server this will be history.
The “Initial Configuration Tasks” window has three different sections:
- Provide Computer information: here you will define the admin account, change the time zone (if necessary), configure your network settings and change the name (or add to a domain) of the server.
- Update this Server: here you can configure how the Windows Update and our Feedback systems will work. You can also manually check if there are any updates and install them.
- Customize this Server: Here is the very new part of Longhorn server because by default nothing is installed and with Longhorn server you will be able to install different server roles like: Active Directory Domain Services, Terminal Server, File Server, DNS, DHPC and many more server roles. Furthermore you can add different features to the server like the .Net 3.0 framework, Network Load Balancing, Windows Server Backup, etc, etc. To finalize the configuration you can enable the Remote Desktop and configure the integrated Firewall.
With this tool I am able to configure my server for the role you need. You can choose to have a single role onto a server box, however adding multiple roles onto one box is also possible and more likely for the most environments. There is a obvious difference between server roles and features. A server role describes the function of the server, the features don’t describe to server role but serves as auxiliary or supporting functions.
Now I have chosen not to select any server role and/or additional feature. I just changed the IP Address, Server name and enabled the Automatic updates. I did this solely for this blogpost as I will explain how the server manager will help you manage your environment from one central console per server. This is not an Enterprise management tool but is aimed to manage single servers.
After rebooting the server the Server Manager console opens and if I had installed any server roles they would appear onto the management console.
Server Management Improvements – Server Manager
The server manager gives you an overview of the running system, it includes computer-, security information and also shows us which roles and features are installed. It’s also the central location to manage each of those roles because this MMC based console makes also usage of the Software Definition Model and knows every dependency of each role we can now monitor each role within this console.
The many wizards built into Server Manager streamline the task of deploying servers in your enterprise by cutting the time it takes to install, configure, or remove roles, role services, and features. Multiple roles can be installed in a single session by using the Add Roles Wizard.
Most importantly, Windows Longhorn Server performs dependency checks as you progress through the Server Manager wizards, ensuring that all the roles and role services needed by the role you selected are installed, and that none are removed that might still be required by remaining roles or role services.
This tool can also be used to install or remove the different features needed for any particular server.
Last but not least within this tool we gather all different management snap-ins of the server roles installed on the server and also some other snap-ins like diagnostics and configuration.
In this example you can see that I installed the “Terminal Services” role by using the wizard and because of the monitoring possibilities the server manager shows us that there is a possible issue with that role. If I click on “Terminal Services” the role information page opens and shows me the information like events, system and service info.
Here we can clearly see that the “Terminal Services Licensing” service is not running but should be running. From here I can also start the service.
Notice that Longhorn Server will add the management snap-ins for each of the installed roles, as we have only Terminal Services the server manager screenshot above shows only the Terminal Services role management snap-in.
In summary we have simplified the installation and initial configuration process to give you an Out of the Box Experience. With the Server Manager we give the Administrators a new single server tool to manage the entire server.
In the next blogpost I will talk briefly about Windows PowerShell.