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Windows Admin Center SDK Hits Preview

Microsoft last week announced the preview of the Windows Admin Center software development kit (SDK), as well as the release of its Remote Server Management Tools (RSAT) for Windows 10 version 1803 (the "April 2018 Update").

RSAT, which can be downloaded here, was earlier at the preview stage for this Windows release. Microsoft has previously denied that the Windows Admin Center will be a replacement for RSAT since some management capabilities are still only available using RSAT.

Also, IT pros looking for a Windows command-line reference can now get Microsoft's 948-page document, which is newly published at this page.

Windows Admin Center SDK
The Windows Admin Center, formerly known as "Project Honolulu," is Microsoft's browser-based management portal that reached "general availability" last month. It's billed as the next step beyond Server Manager and the Microsoft Management Console tools, and can be used to manage Windows client and server operating systems, virtual machines and clusters.

The new SDK, now available as a preview, lets partners and developers support their own software products using Windows Admin Center capabilities. Microsoft maintains the SDK as a GitHub project, providing developer tools, an IFrame example, a solution example and an extension template.

Developers can build out Windows Admin Center extensions using Web technologies, such as "HTML5, CSS, Angular, TypeScript and jQuery," according to Microsoft's documentation. The use of extensions is how all of the tooling gets added to the product, according to Daniel Lee, a senior program manager for Windows Server, per Microsoft's announcement:

Extensibility is a fundamental part of the platform and each solution and tool within Windows Admin Center was built as an extension. We are now inviting partners and developers to build extensions, add value to your product and solutions, and deliver delightful experiences to your customers.

When an extension is added to the Windows Admin Center, servers can be managed using PowerShell or Windows Management Instrumentation. It's also possible to use the REST protocol via a "gateway plugin," according to the documentation.

Partner Extensions
The announcement listed three partners that have already built extensions for the Windows Admin Center. For instance, DataON built an extension for its Management Utility Software Tool (MUST) for hyperconverged infrastructures. The MUST software can be used as a standalone tool or it can be used from within the Windows Admin Center.

Fujitsu built extensions for its ServerView Health and RAID Health solutions, which add monitoring and management capabilities for hardware components, including memory, processors, power and storage. Fujitsu reportedly added just "a few more lines of HTML code," using the SDK, to surface the information, according to Microsoft's writeup.

Lastly, Squared Up built a Windows Admin Center extension that's currently at the beta stage. The company already offers its Squared Up solution as an add-on to Microsoft's System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) product. It's a historical performance-reporting dashboard that's designed to "transform the infrastructure and application monitoring experience." The Windows Admin Center extension is just supplemental to using Squared Up with SCOM as "you'll need to be underway with Squared Up itself in order for our extension for Windows Admin Center to work," Squared Up explained. The software also can integrate data from various data sources, including Azure Log Analytics, ServiceNow and Splunk.

Microsoft also built a Windows Admin Center extension for its Storage Migration Service that's used with the coming Windows Server 2019 product. The Storage Migration service is described by Microsoft as a "job-based orchestration and proxy" tool for carrying out inventories of servers and migrating the settings over to a new deployment target.

Microsoft's installation instructions suggest that Windows Admin Center users can search for "new extensions published by Microsoft and other developers" and simply install or update them. It's also possible to add extensions from a "separate NuGet feed or file share" using its Extension Manager.

About the Author

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

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