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How far does the Microsoft Server Management Tools suite go?

Microsoft SMT is a free Azure-based tool that offers remote Windows Server management, but there are some limits to this cloud service.

Microsoft's cloud-hosted Server Management Tools lets administrators manage local and cloud-based Windows Server...

OSes without installing a single tool. But the free service is still a work in progress.

Microsoft Server Management Tools is currently available as a set of tools, including Control Panel, Device Manager, Event Viewer and Task Manager. SMT is still relatively early in its development cycle -- Microsoft plans to add more features -- but it provides several useful configuration and troubleshooting functions. For example, SMT can:

  • review and adjust system configurations,
  • review performance of local or cloud resources,
    allow process and service management,
  • manage some attached devices,
  • access event logs,
  • review installed roles and features, and
  • use PowerShell to support basic automation of management tasks.

Server Management Tools and Windows
Server 2016.

While many traditional systems management tools are installed and operated in the local data center, SMT is a hosted on Microsoft Azure's cloud platform and accessed through a web-based interface. It manages local Windows Server systems and Windows Server instances in Azure. Users configure an SMT gateway on premises to serve as an interface between local and Azure environments. The gateway handles communication between SMT and the local systems it acts upon.

Administrators can use Microsoft Server Management Tools to control headless servers. Server operating systems such as Windows Nano Server and Server Core have no native graphical user interface, which can present challenges to the IT department. SMT provides a powerful and convenient means to manage those instances within the data center.

SMT currently supports Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2016.

Next Steps

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This was last published in April 2017

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