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Microsoft Releases System Center 2012 to Volume Licensees

Microsoft released System Center 2012 to volume licensing customers yesterday, according to a news report.

The April 1 release was reported today by veteran Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley. It apparently isn't an April Fools joke, since Foley described getting confirmation from Microsoft. The release was spotted by Aidan Finn, a Microsoft most valuable professional, who questioned whether it was the release-to-manufacturing version.

System Center 2012 was last released by Microsoft as a release candidate test version back in January, but Microsoft has been mum about its subsequent release plans. Finn also noted that a lot of System Center 2012 documentation is now available.

It's thought that Microsoft would time the next release of System Center 2012 to coincide with its Microsoft Management Summit, which kicks off April 16 in Las Vegas. SQL Server 2012 is generally available as of April 1, according to Microsoft's past messaging, and it too likely will be highlighted at the Summit.

System Center 2012 is a suite of six management solutions that are designed to work with Windows Server 2008 R2. Microsoft also plans interoperability with Windows Server 8, which is currently at the beta stage. For instance, last month, the company released two test versions of System Center 2012 solutions designed to work with the Windows Server 8 beta.

Microsoft has stressed various new capabilities in System Center 2012. However, the ability to create private clouds through Virtual Machine Manager and enabling self-service provisioning of virtual machines through App Controller have been two highlights of the suite.

Microsoft took a different approach in licensing System Center 2012. Those buying it will get all six solutions, along with Software Assurance coverage, which isn't optional. Individual System Center solutions no longer are being sold piecemeal. The suite is available through volume licensing or via Open or Select licensing.

Microsoft has two System Center 2012 product offerings. The Standard edition is for computing environments that don't use a lot of virtualization. Standard licensing includes two operating system environments (host and OS) on two processors. The Datacenter edition allows organizations to create virtual machines without limits. The cost of a two-year license is $1,323 for the Standard edition and $3,607 for the Datacenter edition.

System Center 2012 includes App Controller, Configuration Manager, Data Protection Manager, Endpoint Protection (formerly known as "Forefront EndPoint Protection 2012" but now rolled into the System Center 2012 suite), Operations Manager (including AVIcode technology), Orchestrator (formally known as "Opalis Software" and bought by Microsoft in late 2009), Service Manager and Virtual Machine Manager.

Licensees with Software Assurance on a previous System Center 2007 version will have the rights to upgrade to the whole System Center 2012 suite.

Other than Foley's article, Microsoft hasn't put out much information about the new release. Something new from Microsoft, according to Finn, is bundled combo of Windows Server 2008 R2 and System Center 2012, which are being offered via Enrollment for Core Infrastructure licensing. However, that licensing requires a datacenter environment that uses "at least 50 processors."

Microsoft's pricing and licensing information can be found here.

About the Author

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

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