Tag Archives: Server

For Sale – 3 x 2U X-Case Server cases

Hi.

Having a clear out of my server gear and have 3 x 2u cases. There are no make/model numbers on the case but I’m sure they are “x-case”.

They are 2u, standard 19” wide and 21.5” deep. They take normal atx power supplies which makes these cases ideal for building budget servers.

They are in decent condition, some scratches etc due to use and being stored in my garage.

Collection preferred due to size of these but if no one local bites, I may post these if I can find packaging.

£20 each or all 3 for £50

COLLECTION FROM NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE

Price and currency: 20 each.
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: BT, cash, ppg, magic beans.
Location: Newcastle upon tyne
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – 3 x 2U X-Case Server cases

Hi.

Having a clear out of my server gear and have 3 x 2u cases. There are no make/model numbers on the case but I’m sure they are “x-case”.

They are 2u, standard 19” wide and 21.5” deep. They take normal atx power supplies which makes these cases ideal for building budget servers.

They are in decent condition, some scratches etc due to use and being stored in my garage.

Collection preferred due to size of these but if no one local bites, I may post these if I can find packaging.

£20 each or all 3 for £50

COLLECTION FROM NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE

Price and currency: 20 each.
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: BT, cash, ppg, magic beans.
Location: Newcastle upon tyne
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Bringing Device Support to Windows Server Containers

When we introduced containers to Windows with the release of Windows Server 2016, our primary goal was to support traditional server-oriented applications and workloads. As time has gone on, we’ve heard feedback from our users about how certain workloads need access to peripheral devices—a problem when you try to wrap those workloads in a container. We’re introducing support for select host device access from Windows Server containers, beginning in Insider Build 17735 (see table below).

We’ve contributed these changes back to the Open Containers Initiative (OCI) specification for Windows. We will be submitting changes to Docker to enable this functionality soon. Watch the video below for a simple example of this work in action (hint: maximize the video).

What’s Happening

To provide a simple demonstration of the workflow, we have a simple client application that listens on a COM port and reports incoming integer values (powershell console on the right). We did not have any devices on hand to speak over physical COM, so we ran the application inside of a VM and assigned the VM’s virtual COM port to the container. To mimic a COM device, an application was created to generate random integer values and send it over a named pipe to the VM’s virtual COM port (this is the powershell console on the left).

As we see in the video at the beginning, if we do not assign COM ports to our container, when the application runs in the container and tries to open a handle to the COM port, it fails with an IOException (because as far as the container knew, the COM port didn’t exist!). On our second run of the container, we assign the COM port to the container and the application successfully gets and prints out the incoming random ints generated by our app running on the host.

How It Works

Let’s look at how it will work in Docker. From a shell, a user will type:

docker run --device="/"

For example, if you wanted to pass a COM port to your container:

docker run --device="class/86E0D1E0-8089-11D0-9CE4-08003E301F73" mcr.microsoft.com/windowsservercore-insider:latest

The value we’re passing to the device argument is simple: it looks for an IdType and an Id. For this coming release of Windows , we only support an IdType of “class”. For Id, this is  a device interface class GUID. The values are delimited by a slash, “/”.  Whereas  in Linux a user assigns individual devices by specifying a file path in the “/dev/” namespace, in Windows we’re adding support for a user to specify an interface class, and all devices which identify as implementing this class   will be plumbed into the container.

If a user wants to specify multiple classes to assign to a container:

docker run --device="class/86E0D1E0-8089-11D0-9CE4-08003E301F73" --device="class/DCDE6AF9-6610-4285-828F-CAAF78C424CC" --device="…" mcr.microsoft.com/windowsservercore-insider:latest

What are the Limitations?

Process isolation only: We only support passing devices to containers running in process isolation; Hyper-V isolation is not supported, nor do we support host device access for Linux Containers on Windows (LCOW).

We support a distinct list of devices: In this release, we targeted enabling a specific set of features and a specific set of host device classes. We’re starting with simple buses. The complete list that we currently support  is  below.

Device Type Interface Class  GUID
GPIO 916EF1CB-8426-468D-A6F7-9AE8076881B3
I2C Bus A11EE3C6-8421-4202-A3E7-B91FF90188E4
COM Port 86E0D1E0-8089-11D0-9CE4-08003E301F73
SPI Bus DCDE6AF9-6610-4285-828F-CAAF78C424CC

Stay tuned for a Part 2 of this blog that explores the architectural decisions we chose to make in Windows to add this support.

What’s Next?

We’re eager to get your feedback. What specific devices are most interesting for you and what workload would you hope to accomplish with them? Are there other ways you’d like to be able to access devices in containers? Leave a comment below or feel free to tweet at me.

Cheers,

Craig Wilhite (@CraigWilhite)

For Sale – Mac Mini 2012

Mac Mini 2012 Server Quad-Core i7 2.3GHz
– SanDisk 120GB SSD (brand new)
– Apple 1TB (original OEM) HDD
– two Crucial 8GB 1600MHz – total 16GB RAM
– original box
– original power cable
– macOS High Sierra (SSD) and MacOS Mavericks (HDD)
– monitor not included (shown to prove its state)

Included is a Magic Mouse (v1, two AA) – used but in very good condition. Paired with this MacMini, dispatched without batteries.

The case has very slight marks (due to its age) but not visible from a distance. Bottom plastic cover is slightly scratched (usual for its design) – but none deters from its sterling performance and flexibility. All ports/connectivities are tested working.

Sad to see this go – but a MacPro has taken its place.

£500 delivered with courier service. First refusal to georgeambler89.

Price and currency: £500
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: BT
Location: Cambridge
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – 3 x 2U X-Case Server cases

Hi.

Having a clear out of my server gear and have 3 x 2u cases. There are no make/model numbers on the case but I’m sure they are “x-case”.

They are 2u, standard 19” wide and 21.5” deep. They take normal atx power supplies which makes these cases ideal for building budget servers.

They are in decent condition, some scratches etc due to use and being stored in my garage.

Collection preferred due to size of these but if no one local bites, I may post these if I can find packaging.

£20 each or all 3 for £50

COLLECTION FROM NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE

Price and currency: 20 each.
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: BT, cash, ppg, magic beans.
Location: Newcastle upon tyne
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – 3 x 2U X-Case Server cases

Hi.

Having a clear out of my server gear and have 3 x 2u cases. There are no make/model numbers on the case but I’m sure they are “x-case”.

They are 2u, standard 19” wide and 21.5” deep. They take normal atx power supplies which makes these cases ideal for building budget servers.

They are in decent condition, some scratches etc due to use and being stored in my garage.

Collection preferred due to size of these but if no one local bites, I may post these if I can find packaging.

£20 each or all 3 for £50

COLLECTION FROM NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE

Price and currency: 20 each.
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: BT, cash, ppg, magic beans.
Location: Newcastle upon tyne
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – 3 x 2U X-Case Server cases

Hi.

Having a clear out of my server gear and have 3 x 2u cases. There are no make/model numbers on the case but I’m sure they are “x-case”.

They are 2u, standard 19” wide and 21.5” deep. They take normal atx power supplies which makes these cases ideal for building budget servers.

They are in decent condition, some scratches etc due to use and being stored in my garage.

Collection preferred due to size of these but if no one local bites, I may post these if I can find packaging.

£20 each or all 3 for £50

COLLECTION FROM NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE

Price and currency: 20 each.
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: BT, cash, ppg, magic beans.
Location: Newcastle upon tyne
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Newisys NVMe flash array chases hyperscale market

Newisys today formally expanded beyond its server roots with the launch of a dense NVMe all-flash storage system: the NSS-2560, which packs nearly 1.7 petabytes of raw capacity in 2U.

The latest Newisys NVMe flash storage was introduced during a demonstration at Flash Memory Summit 2018 in Santa Clara, Calif. At that trade show last year, Newisys won a best-of-show award for its introductory NDS-22482F NVMe over Fabrics Ethernet JBOF (just a bunch of flash) product.

The NSS-2560 server is designed with a drop-down side panel to load 56 NVMe U.2 SSDs. The enclosure contains two Newisys storage server modules, each equipped with dual Intel Broadwell CPUs. Intel Skylake-based server modules are on the Newisys NVMe flash storage roadmap.

The Newisys servers run in parallel and both can access all the NVMe SSDs in the system. Customers can swap out failed drives or servers nondisruptively.

Newisys does not package an operating system on the NSS-2560 hardware. The system supports Microsoft Windows, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and open source Linux variants CentOS, Fedora and Ubuntu.

Newisys is an independent engineering subsidiary of Sanmina Corp., an electronics manufacturing contractor. Sanmina acquired Newisys in 2003.  Newisys is best known for its OEM server partnerships with storage vendors.

The Newisys NVMe storage brand was launched several years ago, but the vendor is now looking to ramp up marketing and customer awareness. Other NVMe storage in the Newisys lineup includes the 2U NDS-2244 PCIe over Fabric JBOF, the 2U NSS-2247G quad server, and 1U NSS-1160G database-acceleration server.

“We have been selling in volume to the largest hyperscale data centers for years, but we’re not well-known [for storage]. We had a restructuring and management change and we’re now coming out of stealth mode,” said Dan Liddle, a Newisys vice president of marketing for servers and storage.

The price of an NSS-2560 array will vary depending on the type of NVMe SSD needed, Liddle estimated, with the price between $50,000 and $200,000 per unit according to the type of NVMe SSD configuration a customer chooses. Newisys plans to sell directly to enterprises and cloud service providers, and Liddle hinted that plans are under way to firm up its channel strategy.

Liddle said Newisys’ history of selling storage servers “gives us an advantage in going to NVMe because we’re not starting from scratch. We’ve got a base of understanding that makes [for] a cleaner transition to an NVMe platform.”

Newisys NSS-2560
Newisys NSS-2560 stores nearly 1.7 PB of raw NVMe capacity in 2U.

Newisys NVMe flash elbows into crowded market

Industry analysts say the emerging NVMe standard for flash and memory-based storage technologies drastically reduces latency by streamlining the transport of SCSI commands. NVMe enables storage to access a computer processor directly across a PCI Express link. Legacy SAS and SATA SSDs incur latency due to host bus connectors that send commands across a network in multiple hops.

Analyst firm IDC projects NVMe-based flash storage will account for more than half of all sales of external primary storage by 2021. Gartner pegs NVMe adoption at 30% by 2021, compared with 1% presently.

The NSS-2560 is designed with a Newisys SAS server chassis reconfigured for the NVMe protocol, said Rick Kumar, Newisys senior vice president of servers and storage marketing. Four 16-lane PCIe add-in cards and up to eight dual inline memory modules per CPU are standard. The 64 PCIe lanes are evenly divided: 32 lanes to the NVMe SSDs and 32 lanes to networks, with connectivity across four 100 Gigabit Ethernet ports.

Newisys claims the NSS-2560 is rated to provide 50 Gbps read performance, 12.5 million read IOPS and 64 Gbps of bandwidth between servers and SSDs.

“Our system is built to be balanced across the entire platform. We make sure there is sufficient connectivity between the drives and the network connections. People are [buying] high-end NVMe drives for performance and latency, and we want to make sure the unit can handle their workloads,” Liddle said.

Tom Coughlin, president of data storage consulting firm Coughlin Associates in Atascadero, Calif., said the Newisys NVMe flash capacity holds appeal for service providers and specialized data center applications, including online transaction processing.

“This is a pretty dense 2U package with almost 2 petabytes (PBs) of raw native capacity. This platform gives you a lot of availability. It’s a pretty impressive box,” Coughlin said.

A compelling selling point, Coughlin added, is relatively low performance penalty for internal-to-external network traffic. “It’s only about 14 Gbps [of consumed throughput] out of the 64 Gbps” to connect the drives to servers, he said.

‘Our NVMe flash array won’t compete with storage vendors’

Newisys plans to continue selling storage servers to OEMs, which raises the possibility its NVMe-based storage could wind up competing with some of its own customers. That’s a conundrum that larger server vendors have also faced.  

Before merging with Dell Technologies in 2015, EMC partnered with Cisco to bundle its storage and VMware virtualization on Cisco UCS servers and networking. The relationship worked well — at least until VMware broadened into network virtualization, posing a threat to Cisco’s server business and straining the EMC-Cisco partnership. Legacy EMC storage now uses Dell PowerEdge servers.

Kumar said the vendor expects to continue to partner with, not compete, with its OEMs.

“We’ve been very sensitive to that. We’ve talked to our partners and they’re comfortable with it, as long as we don’t disclose anything under NDA (nondisclosure agreements). We’re confident we won’t be perceived as a competitor,” Kumar said.

Curious About Windows Server 2019? Here’s the Latest Features Added

Microsoft continues adding new features to Windows Server 2019 and cranking out new builds for Windows Server Insiders to test. Build 17709 has been announced, and I got my hands on a copy. I’ll show you a quick overview of the new features and then report my experiences.

If you’d like to get into the Insider program so that you can test out preview builds of Windows Server 2019 yourself, sign up on the Insiders page.

Ongoing Testing Requests

If you’re just now getting involved with the Windows Server Insider program or the previews for Windows Server 2019, Microsoft has asked all testers to try a couple of things with every new build:

  • In-place upgrade
  • Application compatibility

You can use virtual machines with checkpoints to easily test both of these. This time around, I used a physical machine, and my upgrade process went very badly. I have not been as diligent about testing applications, so I have nothing of importance to note on that front.

Build 17709 Feature 1: Improvements to Group Managed Service Accounts for Containers

I would bet that web applications are the primary use case for containers. Nothing else can match containers’ ability to strike a balance between providing version-specific dependencies while consuming minimal resources. However, containerizing a web application that depends on Active Directory authentication presents special challenges. Group Managed Service Accounts (gMSA) can solve those problems, but rarely without headaches. 17709 includes these improvements for gMSAs:

  • Using a single gMSA to secure multiple containers should produce fewer authentication errors
  • A gMSA no longer needs to have the same name as the system that host the container(s)
  • gMSAs should now work with Hyper-V isolated containers

I do not personally use enough containers to have meaningful experience with gMSA. I did not perform any testing on this enhancement.

Build 17709 Feature 2: A New Windows Server Container Image with Enhanced Capabilities

If you’ve been wanting to run something in a Windows Server container but none of the existing images meet your prerequisites, you might have struck gold in this release. Microsoft has created a new Windows Server container image with more components. I do not have a complete list of those components, but you can read what Lars Iwer has to say about it. He specifically mentions:

  • Proofing tools
  • Automated UI tests
  • DirectX

As I read that last item, I instantly wanted to know: “Does that mean GUI apps from within containers?” Well, according to the comments on the announcement, yes*. You just have to use “Session 0”. That means that if you RDP to the container host, you must use the /admin switch with MSTSC. Alternatively, you can use the physical console or an out-of-band console connection application.

Commentary on Windows Server 2019 Insider Preview Build 17709

So far, my experiences with the Windows Server 2019 preview releases have been fairly humdrum. They work as advertised, with the occasional minor glitch. This time, I spent more time than normal and hit several frustration points.

In-Place Upgrade to 17709

Ordinarily, I test preview upgrades in a virtual machine. Sure, I use checkpoints with the intent of reverting if something breaks. But, since I don’t do much in those virtual machines, they always work. So, I never encounter anything to report.

For 17709, I wanted to try out the container stuff, and I wanted to do it on hardware. So, I attempted an in-place upgrade of a physical host. It was disastrous.

Errors While Upgrading

First, I got a grammatically atrocious message that contained false information. I wish that I had saved it so I could share with others that might encounter it, but I must have accidentally my notes. the message started out with “Something happened” (it didn’t say what happened, of course), then asked me to look in an XML file for information. Two problems with that:

  1. I was using a Server Core installation. I realize that I am not authorized to speak on behalf of the world’s Windows administrators, but I bet no one will get at mad at me for saying, “No one in the world wants to read XML files on Server Core.”
  2. The installer didn’t even create the file.

I still have not decided which of those two things irritates me the most. Why in the world would anyone actively decide to build the upgrade tool to behave that way?

Problems While Trying to Figure Out the Error

Well, I’m fairly industrious, so I tried to figure out what was wrong. The installer did not create the XML file that it talked about, but it did create a file called “setuperr.log”. I didn’t keep the entire contents of that file either, but it contained only one line error-wise that seemed to have any information at all: “CallPidGenX: PidGenX function failed on this product key”. Do you know what that means? I don’t know what that means. Do you know what to do about it? I don’t know what to do about it. Is that error even related to my problem? I don’t even know that much.

I didn’t find any other traces or logs with error messages anywhere.

How I Fixed My Upgrade Problem

I began by plugging the error messages into Internet searches. I found only one hit with any useful information. The suggestions were largely useless. But, the guy managed to fix his own problem by removing the system from the domain. How in the world did he get from that error message to disjoining the domain? Guesswork, apparently. Well, I didn’t go quite that far.

My “fix”: remove the host from my Hyper-V cluster. The upgrade worked after that.

Why did I put the word “fix” in quotation marks? Because I can’t tell you that actually fixed the problem. Maybe it was just a coincidence. The upgrade’s error handling and messaging was so horrifically useless that without duplicating the whole thing, I cannot conclusively say that one action resulted in the other. “Correlation is not causation”, as the saying goes.

Feedback for In-Place Upgrades

At some point, I need to find a productive way to express this to Microsoft. But for now, I’m upset and frustrated at how that went. Sure, it only took you a few minutes to read what I had to say. It took much longer for me to retry, poke around, search, and prod at the thing until it worked, and I had no idea that it was ever going to work.

Sure, once the upgrade went through, everything was fine. I’m quite happy with the final product. But if I were even to start thinking about upgrading a production system and I thought that there was even a tiny chance that it would dump me out at the first light with some unintelligible gibberish to start a luck-of-the-draw scavenger hunt, then there is a zero percent chance that I would even attempt an upgrade. Microsoft says that they’re working to improve the in-place upgrade experience, but the evidence I saw led me to believe that they don’t take this seriously at all. XML files? XML files that don’t even get created? Error messages that would have set off 1980s-era grammar checkers? And don’t even mean anything? This is the upgrade experience that Microsoft is anxious to show off? No thanks.

Microsoft: the world wants legible, actionable error messages. The world does not want to go spelunking through log files for vague hints. That’s not just for an upgrade process either. It’s true for every product, every time.

The New Container Image

OK, let’s move on to some (more) positive things. Many of the things that you’ll see in this section have been blatantly stolen from Microsoft’s announcement.

Once my upgrade went through, I immediately started pulling down the new container image. I had a bit of difficulty with that, which Lars Iwer of Microsoft straightened out quickly. If you’re trying it out, you can get the latest image with the following:

Since Insider builds update frequently, you might want to ensure that you only get the build version that matches your host version (if you get a version mismatch, you’ll be forced to run the image under Hyper-V isolation). Lars Iwer provided the following script (stolen verbatim from the previously linked article, I did not write this or modify it):

Trying Out the New Container Image

I was able to easily start up a container and poke around a bit:

Testing out the new functionality was a bit tougher, though. It solves problems that I personally do not have. Searching the Internet for, “example apps that would run in a Windows Server container if Microsoft had included more components” didn’t find anything I could test with either (That was a joke; I didn’t really do that. As far as you know). So, I first wrote a little GUI .Net app in Visual Studio.

*Graphical Applications in the New Container Image

Session 0 does not seem to be able to show GUI apps from the new container image. If you skimmed up to this point and you’re about to tell me that GUI apps don’t show anything from Windows containers, this links back to the (*) text above. The comments section of the announcement article indicate that graphical apps in the new container will display on session 0 of the container host.

I don’t know if I did something wrong, but nothing that I did would show me a GUI from within the new container style. The app ran just fine — it shows up under Get-Process — but it never shows anything. It does exactly the same thing under microsoft/dotnet-framework in Hyper-V isolation mode, though. So, on that front, the only benefit that I could verify was that I did not need to run my .Net app in Hyper-V isolation mode or use a lot of complicated FROM nesting in my dockerfile. Still no GUI, though, and that was part of my goal.

DirectX Applications in the New Container Image

After failing to get my graphical .Net app to display, I next considered DirectX. I personally do not know how to write even a minimal DirectX app. But, I didn’t need to. Microsoft includes the very first DirectX-dependent app that I was ever able to successfully run: dxdiag.

Sadly, dxdiag would not display on session 0 from my container, either. Just as with my .Net app, it appeared in the local process list and docker top. But, no GUI that I could see.

However, dxdiag did run successfully, and would generate an output file:

Notes for anyone trying to duplicate the above:

  • I started this particular container with 
    docker run it mcr.microsoft.com/windowsinsider
  • DXDiag does not instantly create the output file. You have to wait a bit.

Thoughts on the New Container Image

I do wish that I had more experience with containers and the sorts of problems this new image addresses. Without that, I can’t say much more than, “Cool!” Sure, I didn’t personally get the graphical part to work, but a DirectX app from with a container? That’s a big deal.

Overall Thoughts on Windows Server 2019 Preview Build 17709

Outside of the new features, I noticed that they have corrected a few glitchy things from previous builds. I can change settings on network cards in the GUI now and I can type into the Start menu to get Cortana to search for things. You can definitely see changes in the polish and shine as we approach release.

As for the upgrade process, that needs lots of work. If a blocking condition exists, it needs to be caught in the pre-flight checks and show a clear error message. Failing partway into the process with random pseudo-English will extend distrust of upgrading Microsoft operating systems for another decade. Most established shops already have an “install-new-on-new-hardware-and-migrate” process. I certainly follow one. My experience with 17709 tells me that I need to stick with it.

I am excited to see the work being done on containers. I do not personally have any problems that this new image solves, but you can clearly see that customer feedback led directly to its creation. Whether I personally benefit or not, this is a good thing to see.

Overall, I am pleased with the progress and direction of Windows Server 2019. What about you? How do you feel about the latest features? Let me know in the comments below!

Taking stock of Windows Server management tools

The right Windows server management tools keep the business running with minimal interruptions. But administrators should be open to change as the company’s needs evolve.

Many organizations run on mix of new and old technologies that complicate the maintenance workload of the IT staff. Administrators need to take stock of their systems and get a complete rundown of all the variables associated with the server operating systems under their purview. While it might not be possible to use one utility to run the entire data center, administrators must assess which tool offers the most value by weighing the capabilities of each.

For these everyday tasks, administrators have a choice of several Windows server management tools that come at no extra cost. Some have been around for years, while others recently emerged from development. The following guide helps IT workers understand why certain tools work well in particular scenarios.

Choose a GUI or CLI tool?

Windows server management tools come in two flavors: graphical user interface (GUI) and command-line interface (CLI).

Many administrators will admit it’s easier to work with a GUI tool because the interface offers point-and-click management without a need to memorize commands. A disadvantage to a GUI tool is the amount of time it takes to execute a command, especially if there are a large number of servers to manage.

Administrators can use both PowerShell versions side by side, which might be necessary for some shops.

Learning how to use and implement a CLI tool can be a slow process because it takes significant effort to learn the language. One other downside is many of these CLI tools were not designed to work together; the administrator must learn how to pipe output from one CLI tool to the next to develop a workflow.

A GUI tool is ideal when there are not many servers to manage, or for one-time or infrequent tasks. A CLI tool is more effective for performing a series of actions on multiple servers.

This tip offers more specifics about the two interfaces used with server management tools.

Windows Admin Center: A new management contender

Windows Admin Center, formerly Project Honolulu, is a GUI tool that combines local and remote server management tools in a single console for a consolidated administrative experience.

Windows Admin Center is one of Microsoft’s newer Windows server management tools that makes it easier to work with nondomain machines, particularly those running Server Core.

Windows Admin Center can only manage Windows systems and lacks the functionality IT workers have come to expect with the Remote Server Administration Tools application.

Administrators interested in using Windows Admin Center as one of their primary Windows server management tools should be aware of potential security issues before implementing it in their data center.

This article provides additional details about the features of this tool.

A venerable offering expands to new platforms

Now more than 10 years old, PowerShell is one of the key Windows server management tools due to its potent ability to manage multiple machines through scripting. No longer just a Windows product, Microsoft converted the automation and configuration management tool into an open source project. Microsoft initially called this new offering PowerShell Core, but now refers to it as just PowerShell. The open source version of PowerShell runs on Linux and macOS platforms. Microsoft supports Windows PowerShell but does not plan to add more features to it.

Administrators can use both PowerShell versions side by side, which might be necessary for some shops. At the moment, Windows PowerShell provides more functionality because certain features have yet to be ported to PowerShell Core.

This link offers more information about the differences between the two versions that administrators need to know.