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Project “Honolulu”, new Windows Server management experience

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Today, we are thrilled to unveil the next step in our journey for Windows Server graphical management experiences. In less than two weeks at Microsoft Ignite, we will launch the Technical Preview release of Project “Honolulu”, a flexible, locally-deployed, browser-based management platform and tools.

Project “Honolulu” is the culmination of significant customer feedback, which has directly shaped product direction and investments. With support for both hybrid and traditional disconnected server environments, Project “Honolulu” provides a quick and easy solution for common IT admin tasks with a lightweight deployment.

This blog post continues our recent “sneak peek” series, and we highly recommend “Honolulu” as a graphical management solution for Windows Server, version 1709, and several other versions of Windows Server too!

Yes, we (still) love GUI tools!

If you’re a longtime Windows Server IT admin, you probably “grew up with” and still regularly use MMC and other in-box GUI tools for some management and administrative tasks. You probably also have some level of PowerShell expertise since scripting and automation have become increasingly important as our industry evolves and embraces cloud-scale concepts and deployments.

For scripting and automation, Windows Server has done a great job of providing PowerShell coverage, while for graphical management, cloud-hosted solutions like Operations Management Suite (OMS) are providing added value for larger scale and hybrid environments. Still, IT admins have repeatedly told us that PowerShell is necessary but not sufficient, and that Windows Server ease-of-use is still largely dependent on GUI tools for core scenarios and new capabilities.

Indeed, as you’ll see with Project “Honolulu”, we will continue to invest in GUI tools. Whether it’s for scenarios where GUI has an inherent advantage like data visualization or comparison, or for ad hoc configuration or troubleshooting, we will evolve and expand core GUI tools that are complementary to investments in PowerShell and larger scale management solutions like OMS.

Modernized, simplified, integrated, and secure experiences

Project “Honolulu” is the next step in our journey to deliver on our vision for Windows Server graphical management experiences.

Our vision starts with modernizing both the platform and the tools. For us, modernizing the platform means giving users greater flexibility in how and where they deploy and access the tools. Modernizing the platform also enables partners, both internal and external, to leverage and easily build on top of a growing ecosystem of tools and capabilities. For platform adoption and growth, it means supporting a reasonable set of existing Windows Server versions, not just the latest, and licensed as part of Windows Server with no extra cost. Modernizing the graphical management platform reduces the friction of creating modernized admin tools.

Our vision continues with simplifying the experience where appropriate. Deployment is quick and easy, with no Internet dependency. Tools are familiar, and cover the core set of administrative tasks for troubleshooting, configuration, and maintenance. Some Windows Server capabilities, which were previously manageable only via PowerShell, now also have an easy-to-use graphical experience.

Our vision also includes integrating the management experiences in compelling ways. Each tool is available not just together in one place, but can be filtered to show contextual data inside of another tool. One tool can link to another with context, and these links are just URLs which can be launched from external sources. The architecture also allows for cloud integration in the future.

Finally, our vision is to deliver a secure platform, helping solutions be secure by default, and optimizes support for security solutions. A future blog post in this series will describe in more detail what we’re doing with security and assurance.

Project “Honolulu” Technical Preview – coming (very) soon!

By late next week we’ll publish the Project “Honolulu” Technical Preview package for everyone to install and use. We’ll update this blog post with the download link once it’s available. Stay tuned!

[Update September 22] As promised, here’s the follow-up announcement with download link.

If you are registered to attend Ignite, we invite you to come visit our station in the Hybrid Platform area of the expo, and join us at our breakout session where we’ll provide a lot more details about Project “Honolulu”, along with plenty of demos:

The screenshot below is a sneak peek at the scope of core tools in the Server Manager solution in Project “Honolulu”:








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