Microsoft Debuts Systems Management Update With Cloud Computing Pathway

Microsoft unveiled System Center 2012, slated for general release later this year, at the Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

"Virtualization and server consolidation are important steps toward cloud computing," said Brad Anderson, Microsoft corporate vice president, speaking at the conference. "But it's essential to have management tools that provide intelligence about how the apps themselves are doing, not just management of virtual machine black boxes."

"Microsoft's management solutions provide that insight, along with the needed oversight," Anderson said.

In prebriefs with the press Microsoft executives said System Center 2012 and its new capabilities create service opportunities for solution providers and systems integrators to help their customers move into private clouds.

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New tools and capabilities in System Center 2012 provide businesses with improved ways of managing virtualized workloads. System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012, a module of System Center 2012, lets IT managers pool and allocate virtualized data center resources (including Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware and Xen hypervisors and the Windows Azure cloud platform) into clouds for business groups to use in a self-service model, according to Microsoft.

System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012, available now as a downloadable beta, provides standardized service modeling and configuration features and image-based management tools for managing business application services along with virtual machines.

Also slated for inclusion in System Center 2012 is technology code-named "Concero" that lets department-level application managers deploy and manage their applications on private and public cloud infrastructure, while corporate-level IT managers can maintain control across both.

Also new is System Center Orchestrator, based on the IT process automation technology Microsoft acquired when it bought Opalis Software in December 2009. That software orchestrates workflows across multiple systems and tasks.

The new System Center Operations manager 2012 likewise includes technology from its October 2010 acquisition of AVIcode for monitoring the performance of .NET applications.

The new System Center Advisor secure cloud service for assessing server configurations, previously known by the code name "Atlanta," is now available as a release candidate.

Other modules with enhanced capabilities in the system management suite include System Center Service Manager 2012, which makes it easier for datacenter and business unit IT managers to request cloud services; and System Center Data Protection Manager 2012, which offers new centralized data backup and protection, de-duplication support, and deeper support for Hyper-V and SharePoint workloads.