While Microsoft continues to invest and expand its PowerShell scripting environment—and pushes new GUI-less Windows environments such as the Nano Server configuration—the graphical user interface isn’t going away. GUI tools retain advantages for certain tasks, such as visualizing data and comparing multiple systems. They also tend to be much easier to use for ad hoc configuration and troubleshooting tasks that depend more on exploration and investigation rather than automation.
Most of Windows’ GUI management tools are built around MMC, first introduced in Windows 2000 all those years ago. MMC is clumsy in a number of ways; for example, different MMC plug-ins handle remote system administration in different ways. MMC also does not provide any easy bridge to task automation. It’s often useful to use the GUI to configure one system and then replicate those settings against other systems.
To that end, the company announced Thursday “Project Honolulu,” a new browser-based graphical management tool that’ll be available as a preview for Windows Server 2016 version 1709, along with certain (currently unspecified) other versions of Windows Server. Microsoft also promises that it will require no additional cost beyond that of Windows Server.