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Windows Server

Honolulu Brings Back GUI-based Tools to Manage Windows Servers

When Microsoft released its server version of Windows that included a graphical user interface with Windows NT 3.1 (and subsequently 3.51), it was revolutionary. The company continued down the GUI-based path for the next 20-plus years. Then, Microsoft announced Nano server. A headless server that needs to be managed with a command-line interface much like developing a PowerShell script. Since PowerShell had become so popular as a scripting and automation tools, the company may have mistakenly believed that customers preferred command-lines – even for managing servers. However, as we’ve seen over the past year and based off the unpopular Nano server and the inability for Windows Server 2016 to catch fire, people still like clicking around windows to get things done – even managing servers.

Microsoft has made that concession in a blog post announcing a secret project that has been in testing with about 150 customers and will launch a Technical Preview next week at Ignite. The project is called Honolulu and is a set of tools to manage Windows servers that are GUI-based.

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.

Welcome back, GUI-based Windows server.

 


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