Windows Admin Center Preview 1908 is now available with many improvements

Microsoft seems to be picking up the pace with its Windows Admin Center preview releases for Insiders. After version 1907 was released with some minor improvements last month, the company has released version 1908 today, and it includes some bigger updates than the previous release.

Among the changes are updates to parts of the UI, as well as new tools such as Packetmon and FlowLog Audit. Some other tools have been updated, too. Here's the full changelog in this release:

Thanks for staying up to date on the Windows Admin Center journey! You’ll start to see visual changes in this version as minor style updates to the Windows Admin Center UI, including a new, rich, entry page to the add connection experience:

Other changes include:

NEW TOOL! Packetmon: Packetmon is a new feature that will allow you to diagnose your server by capturing and displaying network traffic through the networking stack in a log that is filtered, organized, and easy to follow and manipulate. This release of Packetmon supports 19H1 and 19H2 builds.

In later releases, Windows Server 2019 will be supported, the actual names of networking stack components will be displayed in the log, users will be able to filter the log by components & dropped packets, and users will be able to save captures to analyze and manipulate the captures whenever needed.

NEW TOOL! FlowLog Audit: Flowlog auditing is a new capability for the SDN firewall in Windows Server 2019. When you enable SDN firewall, any flow processed by SDN firewall rules (ACLs) that have logging enabled gets recorded. These logs can be used for diagnostics or archived for later analysis.

With the new “Flowlog Audit” extension in Windows Admin Center, you can easily manage, search and filter the SDN logs for analysis and diagnostics.
It can be difficult to gain insights into flow logging data by manually searching the log files. In this extension, you can also upload the log to Azure Blob, then use Power BI to visualize your most recent flow logs and learn about traffic on your network.

UPDATED TOOL! Security: Install or update the Security tool from the extension feed. This update features a full visual refresh with the ability to toggle real-time Windows Defender protection, run a quick scan, modify your scan schedule, view history and edit default remediation actions.

Windows Admin Center can now onboard Failover Cluster and Hyper-Converged Cluster connections to Azure Monitor: To configure Azure Monitor for your cluster, navigate to Settings -> Monitoring Alerts. The onboarding process will help set up the log analytics workspace in Azure and install the appropriate local agents on each server in your cluster to help you collect events and performance counters for analysis, reporting, and alerting.

Windows Admin Center extension developers: The Active Directory search that was originally implemented for adding servers is now a reusable control – the link to the example is: https://localhost:6516/devguide/tools/active-directory-search-control

WinRM over HTTPS: Supporting WinRM over HTTPS (port 5986) is a top user request. Starting in this version of Windows Admin Center, you will have the option to choose WinRM over HTTPS (port 5986) as the method of connection to your managed nodes.

The release comes with some known issues, some of which were already in the previous release. Here's the full list:

  • Azure Monitor onboarding – If you’re managing a server or a cluster using “manage as” credentials, the onboarding may fail.
  • Network – If you have configured an Azure Network Adapter, the value under Microsoft Azure Virtual Network Gateway Address will be formatted as a hyperlink but leads to an invalid address. [20420185]
  • Chrome users may see 403 Forbidden response from WAC after upgrading. The workaround is to close *all* open chrome tabs (make sure there are no chrome.exe processes running). After restarting chrome, everything will function normally. We have an error message that makes this clear, but chrome users with multiple windows admin center tabs open during upgrade will not see the message.

If you're interested in trying out the new updates, you can download the latest preview build of Windows Admin Center from the Windows Server Insider program page. You can also get Windows Server Insider preview build 18945 from there.

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