Planning deployment for Windows Server 2012 (Part 4) - Remote Management

by [Published on 13 Dec. 2012 / Last Updated on 13 Dec. 2012]

This article explains how you can use Server Manager to remotely manage servers running Windows Server 2012 and earlier versions of Windows Server.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

Introduction

Deploying new servers is no use unless you can also manage them remotely from a central location. Planning for remote management is thus a key issue when it comes to planning deployment of Windows Server 2012 in your organization. This article examines the two aspects of the matter:

  • Remotely managing servers running Windows Server 2012
  • Remotely managing servers running earlier versions of Windows Server


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Remotely managing Windows Server 2012

One nice thing about Windows Server 2012 is that remote management is enabled by default on the platform as shown in here:


Figure 1: Remote management is set to Enabled by default in Windows Server 2012.

This means that once you've deployed your new servers, you can manage them immediately from a central location using in-box tools such as Server Manager or Windows PowerShell.

The new Server Manager console lets you easily manage up to about a hundred servers. Beyond that, the Server Manager user interface begins to become somewhat less responsive and you'll need to use Windows PowerShell to remotely manage your servers. The tasks you can perform on a remote server using Server Manager will depend upon the roles and features installed on that server. Some tasks however can be remotely performed on any server running Windows Server 2012. For example, if you right-click on a remote server in the server pool on the All Servers page of Server Manager, you can select Windows PowerShell to open a PowerShell console on the remote server so you can run PowerShell commands directly on the remote server:


Figure 2: You can open a PowerShell console on a remote server.

Remotely managing earlier versions of Windows Server

In my test lab I currently have an Active Directory domain named corp.contoso.com that has a number of domain-joined servers including:

  • HOST4 is a domain controller running Windows Server 2012
  • HOST7 is a member server running Windows Server 2012
  • SRV-DLV-042 is a member server running Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
  • SRV-DLV-076 is a member server running Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

Figure 3 shows Server Manager running on HOST4. You can see that the first three servers have been added to the server pool:


Figure 3: The server pool has three servers in it.

You must add a server to the server pool before you can use Server Manager to remotely manage the server. Because I want to remotely manage SRV-DLV-076, I decide to add it the server pool by selecting Add Servers from the Manage menu as shown in the above figure. When I do this, the Add Servers dialog opens, and on the Active Directory tab I click Find Now to display a list of all available servers in the domain. I select SRV-DLV-076 from the list and click the arrow to display the server in the Selected pane at the right:


Figure 4: Adding server SRV-DLV-076 to the server pool.

When I click OK, I am returned to the All Servers page of Server Manager. Refresh fails at this point because remote management has not been enabled on SRV-DLV-076:


Figure 5: Server SRV-DLV-076 cannot yet be remotely managed.

In order to be able to remotely manage SRV-DLV-076 using Server Manager on HOST4, I need to do the following on SRV-DLV-076:

  1. Open Windows Update, check for updates and make sure all "important" updates have been applied.
  2. Install the .NET Framework 4.0. You can obtain this from this link.
  3. Open Windows Update again, check for updates and make sure all "important" updates have been applied.
  4. Install the Windows Management Framework 3.0, which includes PowerShell 3.0, WMI and WinRM. You can obtain this from this link. Make sure you download the correct file for your version of Windows Server. A restart will be required after installing this update.
  5. Obtain and install the KB2682011 hotfix, which you can request from the Microsoft Support article. Once you've provided your email address, you should receive an email within 5 minutes that contains a link which you can use to download the hotfix. Another restart will be required after installing this update.
  6. Open Windows Update one more time, check for updates and make sure all "important" updates have been applied.
  7. Log on with administrator credentials, open Server Manager, and click Configure Server Manager Remote Management on the right side of the Computer Information section of the Server Summary page as shown here in Figure 6:


Figure 6: Enabling remote management on Windows Server 2012 R2 SP1.

Then in the Configure Server Manager Remote Management dialog, select the checkbox to enable remote management of the server from other computers as shown here:


Figure 7: Enabling remote management on Windows Server 2012 R2 SP1.

I now switched over to Server Manager running on HOST4 and clicked the Refresh button on the toolbar. After a few seconds the All Servers page looked like this:


Figure 8: The server running Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 can now be remotely managed using Server Manager on Windows Server 2012.

At this point I can perform various tasks on the remote server running Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. For example, if I right-click on the server and select Windows PowerShell from the context menu, I can open a PowerShell console on the remote server and run commands directly on the remote server:


Figure 9: You can even run PowerShell commands remotely on the remote server.

The process for configuring servers running Windows Server 2008 SP2 is similar, but once you've installed the .NET Framework 4.0 and Windows Management Framework 3.0 on the server, you need to perform some different steps to enable remote management. These additional steps are described here.

You can also enable remote management on servers running Windows Server 2003 R2 and Windows Server 2003 SP2, but the remote management capability of that platform is limited. For more information, see this link. See also this article as well.

Note that the above procedure enables Server Manager running on Windows Server 2012 to use WinRM to communicate with servers running Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, and Windows Server 2008 SP2. However, a few remote management capabilities are not yet supported over WinRM and require DCOM instead. For example, if I right-click on a server on the All Servers page and select Computer Management, the Computer Management console will be opened with the focus on the remote server. But if I then select the Device Manager node in Computer Management, an error message will be displayed like this:


Figure 10: Some remote management tasks use DCOM instead of WinRM.

This happens because Device Manager uses DCOM to obtain information about devices on the server, but Windows Firewall is configured to block inbound DCOM traffic by default. And this is true even if the remote server is running Windows Server 2012. For information on resolving this issue, see this article in the TechNet Library.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

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