Microsoft: Project Honolulu Technical Preview – the Dashboard that will delight every IT Administrator

Greetings friends, Microsoft presented during the Microsoft Ignite this year the new Project Honolulu, also gave us access to a Technical Preview that of course we wanted to install.

The “Honolulu” project is the culmination of an important customer feedback work, which has directly shaped the direction of the product and investments. With support for hybrid or traditional servers, the “Honolulu” Project provides a quick and easy solution for common IT administrative tasks as well as a lightweight deployment.

The Honolulu Project is one of the best products that I have tested by Microsoft, and is that the simplicity of it, the capabilities it has, plus the speed and lightness of the package make it indispensable today, even being a Technical Preview.

What is Project Honolulu?

Honolulu is a set of locally deployed, browser-based management tools that enables local management of Windows servers without Azure or cloud dependency. Honolulu provides IT administrators with full control over all aspects of their server infrastructure, and is particularly useful for managing private networks that are not connected to the Internet.

Honolulu is the modern evolution of in-box management tools such as Server Manager and MMC. It is complementary to System Center and Operations Management Suite, and is not intended to replace these products and services.

How does Project Honolulu work?

The Honolulu application runs in a web browser. The application manages the nodes Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 through the Honolulu Gateway that can be installed on Windows Server 2016 or Windows 10. The gateway manages the servers through Remote PowerShell and WMI over WinRM. Both the application and the gateway are installed from a single package. msi light.

Once we publish the DNS entries and configure the corporate firewall, we can access Honolulu from the Internet or local network, allowing us to connect and manage our servers from anywhere with Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome (there is no compatibility with other browsers has not been tested).

You can download a fantastic poster to print and hang in your offices here:

How to download the Project Honolulu

The Technical Preview is now available at the official Microsoft URL that has enabled it here:

Installing Honolulu project

The installer, which is minimal in size, can run it on the server where we want to run the Honolulu project as a server:

The installer, very Microsoft-style, is as follows-we will accept the license and press Next:

I’ve marked the two checkboxes for easier access:

The port we want Honolulu to use, in my case port 8443, I’ll also tell him to generate a new SSL, although we could use an existing and valid one:

The process takes literally less than a minute to install:

Once completed, we are one step closer to accessing: Let’s go to the next step to see the full potential.

Quick overview of each section within Honolulu project

We can find the icon on the desktop, which is simply the FQDN of the server where we installed it with port 8443

To access we will have to enter a user with administrator privileges, so far we do not know well all the privileges that the user must have. One of the things we can see when we connect is that we have the list of servers, because if gentlemen, with just one Honolulu project we can connect to different servers that are Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012R2 or Windows Server 2012, impressive!

We start with the Overview tab, one of my favorites, where we can see the system’s resources, and its real time consumption, impressive:

If we continue with the tabs, we can see the Certificates tab, where we can manage all the certificates installed in the system, or add more, renew them, etc. So cool.

If we continue with the tabs, we can see Devices, where we can see the connected devices, and we can disable them even, update Drivers, etc.

If we go down to the Events tab, we can see in real time all the events that happen in the machine, perfect for audits, besides being able to export the events.

We continue with this product that falls in love from the first click, now we are in the file tab, where we can upload, download, delete or rename files or folders.

If we go to the Firewall tab, we can view, edit and add Firewall in Incoming or Outgoing rules very, very easily.

If we go to the Users tab, we can see the local users and groups, also add more, delete, change passwords, etc.

In the Networking part, awesome as all this project, we can see our IPs, descriptions, edit everything we want, IPs, Subnets, everything!

If we go to the processes that are running, we can stop that service that is eating all the RAM or CPU, or attentive to this, generate a dump on the process to send to VMware Support, or Veeam, etc.

In the Registry tab, you can edit registry entries in a simple and secure way.

If we want to add more roles to the server, from Honolulu we can also add the services in a simple way without needing to enter the server.

In the so important tab called services, we can see all the services and turn them on or off, as well as see the preferences.

In the Storage tab we can see our disks, our volumes and of course manage all this, add new VHD disks, etc.

The last Windows Updates tab will allow us to know the pending updates, as well as the history of the same ones; there are some more options like Virtual Machines, Storage Replica and Virtual Switches, but since I don’t have Hyper-V installed on the server I’m managing, I can’t access them.

The future, Veeam, VMware, Exchange, and more as extensions

Project Honolulu doesn’t stop at just being the most impressive thing we’ve seen to date in terms of centralized management of Microsoft Server environments, it also includes a part to continue adding extensions, and this is where companies such as Veeam, VMware, or Microsoft itself can add their products so that in a single console we can easily monitor the status of our entire environment. The future is here! 

Author: jorgeuk

Father, writing in and Blogger, Systems Engineer @veeam - vExpert 2014/2020 & NTC 2018/19

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