Project Honolulu – A first overview

At some point, even the hardest PowerShell fans like me want to check or do some tasks on our Windows server with the help of a GUI based tool. Normally I would use some kind of MMC components or the Server Manager, but these tools are kind of out-dated in this cloud times.

Since I work in IT, I had to install RSAT to administer servers from my client or from some kind of admin terminal server. And as far as I remember there were always problems regarding the firewall configuration. This was the point I started becoming a huge fan of OMS. Browser GUI based management from the cloud – and I still love this – but this is not always the way to go. Sometimes you just need some kind of local, easy-to-use on-premises tool for administering Windows servers. Maybe Microsoft heard my prayers, because all I wanted is now in preview in a tool called Project Honolulu.

Project Honolulu is, or will be, a Windows server, Failover Cluster and Windows Hyper Converged Cluster management solution direct in your browser. In September 2017, right before the Ignite conference, Microsoft announced this tool, and a few days later Microsoft released a technical preview I want to show you now:

First of all, the installation of the system is really easy:

  • Next

I will allow the setup to modify the trusted hosts setting for the WinRM client. This is necessary because the tool uses WinRM connection for the connection to managed servers. The settings could also be done manually, but I’m to lazy for a first overview. As Note: The installer does not use the exact IP address of the servers to be managed, it uses the star wildcard (*).

  • Next

You should always use a trusted certificate from a trusted corporate PKI. To tell the installer which one to use to serve the portal, use PowerShell.

First, jump to the machine certificate store:

cd Cert:\LocalMachine\My\

And then list all certificates and their thumbprints:


In my case it is only one certificate. If you have more than one, you could also use MMC to gather the Thumbprint, or use the following PowerShell cmdlet:

Get-ChildItem | fl *

As TCP port for the management site I will use the default port for HTTPS 443. If the server already runs a website on this port it is possible to define some custom one.

  • Install

And that’s all. The system is now installed in a single server scenario.

  • Finish

Let’s have a look on Project Honolulus portal site:

As note: I opened die portal page from a different server with an already installed chrome browser.

The first overview shows the Project Honolulus main page at the Server Manager solution. This part of Honolulu is the web based server manager which can/should/will replace the installed server manager and the MMC snap-ins. As you can see, the server in which it is running, is already a connected system.

To add a new Windows server, in my case a Windows Server 2016 system, klick on add and select server connection.

After I typed in the servers name I got an error regarding the credentials:

As you can see in the screenshot above, Kerberos delegation, for delegating credentials from the user over the Honolulu gateway component to the target system, is necessary.

I configured my all in one Honolulu server to be trusted for delegation within the active directory:

In addition, make sure to use a UPN suffix which is the same as the domain suffix of the server you want to manage. This seems to be a bug in the current version.

Now, two servers are visible as managed, and as online, from the main page.

To get a deeper insight and to manage a specific server, simply click on it.

The pane that opens looks a bit like a mixture of the traditional server manager and also a bit like an Azure page. On the left-hand site, you can find all setting groups which can be configured on this system. For example, it is now possible to manage network and Hyper-V virtual machine settings from the same tool, without using SCVMM. In addition, wat makes it really cool, project Honolulu does not need any kind of agent installed locally on the system to manage. Every data which is visible and every setting to modify is done directly via WMI over WinRM.

Also, especially if you do not have an WSUS server for your small development environment, it is possible to install Windows Updates via Project Honolulu.

For the update example, via the notification pane, indicated by the bell symbol like on Azure, the site keeps you informed about the installation status.

To get more information’s about the Project Honolulu check the Microsoft blog at

That’s it for a first overview. I hope you’re as exited over this new tool as I am.

Greetings J

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