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Windows Update Support Comes to Server Management Tools

Microsoft's Server Management Tools, currently in preview now have support for Windows Update.

Server Management Tools are a bunch of solutions that are particularly designed for managing headless servers, such as Microsoft's new Nano Server option, but they can also be used to manage Windows Server or the small-footprint Server Core deployment option. Nano Server is yet another deployment option for the emerging Windows Server 2016 product that's said to be 20 times smaller than Server Core.

Microsoft's Server Management Tools include familiar items, such as Task Manager, Registry Editor, Event Viewer, Device Manager and Control Panel. Today, Microsoft announced it added Windows Update to that list. The tools can be seen in action in this Microsoft Channel 9 video.

The Windows Update capability permits organizations to view updates and install them to a remote server. They can schedule remote server restarts, and monitor the success of an update installation. A machine's update history can be viewed.

The Windows Update capability was added to Technical Preview 4 of Windows Server 2016, per Microsoft's announcement, although Windows Server 2016 is currently available at Technical Preview 5.

Nano Server can only be managed remotely. It lacks a graphical user interface (GUI) and typically relies on the use of command-line tools for management, such as Windows PowerShell. However, Microsoft's Server Management Tools are browser based and include both command-line and GUI interfaces.

Microsoft rolled out a preview of these tools in February. To get them to work, organizations need to set up a server management gateway, which connects the tools (services) located in Microsoft's datacenters with Windows Server 2016 machines. IT pros access the tools via the Microsoft Azure portal.

IT pros expecting to use Microsoft's familiar Group Policy solutions to control Nano Server don't have that option. Management happens via a set of emerging PowerShell cmdlets or Desired State Configuration can be used, Microsoft explained this week.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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