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Microsoft Releases System Center Operations Manager 2012 RC

Microsoft today rolled out a release candidate (RC) version of its System Center Operations Manager 2012 solution.

This latest test version of Operations Manager 2012 can be downloaded here. It's part of Microsoft's overall System Center management solution portfolio for IT pros, with the 2012 solutions having been first unveiled in March. Operations Manager is designed to help users monitor the performance of services, operations and devices through a single monitoring pane.

Late last month, Microsoft rolled out other new System Center 2012 test versions, including App Controller, Server Manager, Orchestrator and System Center Configuration Manager. These beta and release candidate versions are being rolled out to get feedback before Microsoft's product release. The entire System Center 2012 product line is expected to start hitting the market in the first half of next year, according to Microsoft's STB news blog.

Operations Manager 2012 is considered by Microsoft to be an important tool for managing private clouds. It installs an agent on discovered devices to help monitor computing environments, including physical servers and virtual resources, plus private cloud resources in datacenters. The product incorporates various management packs that IT pros can import to add monitoring support for various features and third-party solutions.

Various management packs are available for Operations Manager, such as ones adding support for Apache Tomcat, IBM WebSphere, Java Enterprise Edition, Oracle WebLogic and Red Hat JBoss.  

Operations Manager 2012 helps monitor applications, too, providing diagnostics on .NET and JEE Web apps, as well as apps supported by Microsoft's Windows Azure public cloud. Microsoft claims that Operations Manager 2012 works across various operating systems, such as Windows, Linux and Unix.

New to Operations Manager 2012 RC is the ability to carry out network monitoring, according to a blog post by David Mills of the Microsoft Server and cloud platform team. He explained that it is "now possible to look at the underlying network topology that connects the servers." A blog post by Kevin Holman of Microsoft lists some of the new features in Operations Manager 2012 and explains that it can now "discover and monitor network routers and switches, including the network interfaces and ports on those devices and the virtual LAN (VLAN) that they participate in."

Other highlights in the Operations Manager 2012 RC include the ability to use Windows PowerShell 2.0 to manage Linux and Unix machines. A UNIX/Linux Shell Command Template Management Pack lets users create "rules, tasks and monitors based on the execution of shell commands," according to Holman's post. System Center Operations Manager has its own specific set of PowerShell cmdlets, which can be identified by the use of letters, "SC," before the noun.

As described previously, Microsoft dispensed with the root management server approach in Operations Manager 2012, enabling all management servers to act as peers. Users can now organize management servers into a management group. Microsoft claims that this arrangement "provides high availability without requiring a cluster." Users can also create a resource pool representing multiple management servers as a way to help distribute workloads.

There are other improvements in Operations Manager 2012, such as changes to the operations console and a new Web console. A list of the new features can be found at this TechNet library page, with more resources listed here.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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