Windows Server 2012 is certainly an interesting OS. Yes many of the Windows Server 2008 R2 items are still in there, Administrative Tools and the Control Panel items, but they are certainly not the stars of the show. Windows Server has focused on a tool to aid in management for some time. The Server Manager single-pane-of-glass idea has been so/so in previous releases. Sure you could work with the local server and do a number of things right at the first screen, but that is as far as the tool went. Connecting to other instances was non-existent and didn't seem to be in the cards.
Windows Server 2012 has corrected these issues and provided as much of a single pane-of-glass into your infrastructure as possible (with a GUI). Because I am still learning PowerShell and trying to get my head around all that it has to offer, I am not quite as comfortable with Server Core as I probably should be. Until that happens, the Server Manager will be something I rely on going forward. I know that it will eventually be replaced by the PS> prompt and require that I can do everything from the command line, but luckily for me, that is not the case just yet.
Things I like about Server Manager
- It’s there… all the time. When I login, it opens and shows me what I might need to know about.
- Connecting to local and remote servers is the same. Until now, Remote Desktop was about the only way to get a consistent remote/local experience. The tools were available to perform actions, but they weren’t as consistent as connecting right to the system and using the local tools. Server Manager provides a consistent experience both for local servers and remote ones.
- Roles and Features are here, there, and everywhere. Installing a role, like IIS, can be done on the local server, just like previous releases of Windows Server with the ease of a few clicks. In Windows Server 2012, remote installations can be mixed with local installations and done all at once. Running the installation of the IIS role with the same options can happen on the local server and multiple remote servers all at the same time.
- Visibility – the visibility of issues that may need to be handled on any server that Server Manager is aware of or just on the local server are bubbled up to the top of the display. This way, they show up and get in my field of vision as soon as the application starts, which is as soon as I log on.
These are the most noticeable reasons that I am a fan of Server Manager. I realize that they are not the most technical or the most challenging things to like even about Server Manager as an application let alone the whole of Windows Server 2012, but sometimes the ease of use and up-front availability of something just wins.
I am digging into PowerShell fairly regularly as well, there might be another post about that here soon too.