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Mitch Irsfeld

TechNet Flash, Volume 13, Issue 14 - June 29, 2011
TechNet Flash Editor's Note from Mitch Irsfeld

Your Management Infrastructure Is Becoming an Integrated Fabric

Controlling the seemingly out-of-control landscape of connected devices and platforms requires a shift in approach, and System Center 2012 makes that shift.

To support a rich and consistent user experience across the expanding range of devices, organizations are adopting new processes, new physical infrastructure and virtualization technology to maintain the needed control without driving up operational costs or increasing administrative complexity.

That's where the upcoming System Center 2012 suite comes in. Starting with System Center Configuration Manager 2012, which provides a single, integrated platform for desktop security and compliance management, you'll have a unified infrastructure for mobile, physical, and virtual environments where you can manage everything in the same place using the same processes you already have established.

System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 enables you to pool and dynamically allocate virtualized datacenter resources (compute, network, and storage) enabling self-service infrastructure experience for your business, with flexible role-based delegation and access control. You can apply cloud principles to provisioning and servicing your datacenter applications with techniques like service modeling, service configuration, and image-based management.

System Center Operations Manager 2012 also incorporates the cloud-oriented "fabric" notion of infrastructure topology, and expands to include the underlying network and storage layers, as well as the overarching application layer.

And System Center Orchestrator 2012, formerly Opalis, provides orchestration, integration, and automation of IT processes through the creation of runbooks, enabling you to define and standardize best practices and improve operational efficiency.

In this edition of TechNet ON, Joshua Hoffman discusses some of the major components of the System Center 2012 suite, and how they address some of the evolving challenges of cloud computing, in his new TechNet Magazine article Microsoft System Center 2012: Taking Systems Management to the Cloud.

Also new in TechNet Magazine, Paul Schnackenburg takes a look at the major upgrade to System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012, which allows you to separate your applications and services from the underlying infrastructure by using server application virtualization. This results in a service-centric approach to management, where you manage the application or service lifecycle and not just datacenter infrastructure or virtual machines.

You can check out the System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 Beta and discover how you can deliver flexible and cost-effective Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

And while you're at it, take a look at The New Look of SCCM, also penned by Schnackenburg for TechNet Magazine. System Center Configuration Manager 2012 makes shift to user-centric management (UCM), which gives your users more control over what software they have installed on their devices and when it's installed. This becomes increasingly important as the "consumerization of IT" continues to advance and the list of devices and platforms expands.

The self-service approach is an important trend in systems management. To realize the benefits of cloud computing, you start with the management infrastructure, according to Brad Anderson, Microsoft corporate vice president of the Management & Security Division. In a blog post during the recent Microsoft Management Summit, Anderson said the new management infrastructure from Microsoft will enable the creation of clouds with just a few clicks, and "brings together the network, storage, and computing islands into an integrated fabric."

Much of what Anderson describes is embodied in the new System Center 2012 capability, code name " Concero," which empowers application managers to deploy and manage their applications on private and public cloud infrastructure while helping IT managers deliver greater flexibility and agility to their business teams. "Concero" provides a simple web-based experience for the application owner who will be consuming cloud capacity.

The initial release of "Concero" will enable customers to deploy, manage, and control applications and services deployed on private clouds built using System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 and in the public cloud offering of Windows Azure. This provides a consistent and simple user experience for service management across these clouds.

Another cloud service, System Center Advisor (formerly Microsoft code name "Atlanta" and currently in beta) enables IT professionals to assess their server configuration and proactively avoid problems. Additionally, System Center Advisor helps reduce downtime by providing suggestions for improvement, and notifying customers of key updates specific to their configuration. The knowledge in Advisor is coming directly from the Microsoft product teams and will be updated regularly.

Yes, there is a lot to digest with System Center 2012; a lot of great new capabilities and the new focus on the cloud. To stay up to date, check in often with the System Center Blog.

Thanks for reading,

Mitch Irsfeld
Editor, TechNet Flash

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