How to streamline hybrid server management with Windows Admin Center


Do you want to be able to monitor your servers wherever they are running without having to stand up and manage additional management infrastructure? A great example is branch offices, where you typically want to manage your apps, but don’t want to manage the complexity of a systems management solution. Hi, I’m Jeff Woolsey and this is one in a series of videos that show you what’s new in Windows Admin Center. Windows Admin Center allows you to streamline everyday tasks and connect to Azure for hybrid scenarios. In this video, Haley Rowland shows you how to get started with Azure Monitor to monitor and visualize servers across your environment. You’ll see how you can use Windows Admin Center to set up alerts to notify you of any critical conditions. In fact, this is one of the most requested capabilities for Windows Admin Center. And then, after that, troubleshoot the issues from Windows Admin Center. Let’s get started. Haley: Monitoring is super important because it allows you to visualize your metrics across your resources. It also allows you to query and analyze logs. So you’re sending up performance counters and event logs that you can then look centrally in the Azure portal and query on those across multiple resources. And finally, you can set up alerts and actions to take proactive behavior or to notify you of critical conditions should they come up. Jeff: And Haley, we know this is like, one of the top requests in Admin Center. “Jeff, we want to get an email alert when something happens.” Top request. Haley: Yep, so Azure Monitor actually lets us do that in Windows Admin Center. So let’s take a look at the components that actually create this solution. So for my on-premises servers they’ll be sending up data, the performance counters and event logs into Log Analytics workspace, which then Azure Monitor will run queries and analyze that data, and then Azure Monitor will trigger any alerts should they be triggered, and then that will be sent to me as an email, a text, or even a voice call. So let’s look at what we can do with Azure Monitor in Windows Admin Center. So here I’m in the Azure Monitor tool. I’ll go ahead and click Set up, and by now, you’ll realize that this is a quite familiar flow, right? I’m going to set up my subscription that I want to use and decide if I want to create a new resource, which I will in this case, as well as a workspace. And then Admin Center is automatically going to install any agents I need and establish that trust relationship. So I’ll go ahead and click Set up. And you’ll see it takes a moment, so let’s come back and see how it looks once it’s already set up. So you’ll see Windows Admin Center is going to provide me a lot of details about this connection to Azure Monitor. So I can see the workspace that it’s in as well as get some easy hyperlinks into valuable pieces like monitoring my Azure VM, querying those logs, and setting up alerts and actions. But Windows Admin Center actually goes a step further and helps you set up some of those alerts that we know you want to get on your servers. So let’s take a look at how Windows Admin Center does that. So, I’ll go click, Edit alert rules. And from here, Windows Admin Center provides a set of default alerts. So I’m going to select the CPU utilization, Disk capacity utilization, Memory utilization, and of course, Heartbeat, just to know that my server is up and running. And, of course, Windows Admin Center provides these default conditions that will trigger those alerts. But if I want to go and fine tune those, I can do so in the Azure portal after you’ve created them here in Windows Admin Center. So the next step, because I want to get an email, is to actually create what’s called an Action Group and so I just have to give it a name. So here, I want to email myself and I’ll put in my email address and it’s that simple. Windows Admin Center will go and create that Action Group to take effect when any of these alerts are triggered. So I’ll go ahead and click Save. That’ll take just a moment to update. And then I’ll see them show up within Windows Admin Center. So I can see which alerts I’ve actually set up from Windows Admin Center. Now let’s take a look at what happens when that alert actually gets triggered. What is the email that I get? So that looks just like this. I see that – Jeff: Boom! This is so awesome! Haley: I see that my alert is triggered. I see this subject line line that it’s high CPU utilization and then I can also see the insights, the offending server here. And so I can actually click in with this View results button to see the query that was triggered on this alert. And since Windows Admin Center is a great troubleshooting tool, I’m just going to open a new tab, open Windows Admin Center, and go troubleshoot the problem that’s causing my high CPU utilization. So this was the server that was offending: application-server1. So I’ll connect into that, and right from the overview page, I can see what’s going on. And it looks like, yes, my CPU is running quite high, so I want to definitely take care of that. So within Windows Admin Center, I can actually go to the Processes tool and see what’s causing my CPU to run so high. And I’ll sort by CPU to quickly get to the root of the problem. And here it looks like there’s a stress tool running, so that seems like something that was kind of leftover from a dev machine, so let’s go ahead and end that. I’ll say Yes. And Windows Admin Center will take care of that for me, and let’s head back to the overview page to make sure that my CPU is running normally as expected. Yep, I can see that drop off and everything looks good. So you can see the value here with Azure Monitor and Windows Admin Center side-by-side, giving me that ability to go troubleshoot. First, find out if there’s an issue and then go troubleshoot it using Windows Admin Center.

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