Today we announced the final release of System Center 2012 Service Pack 1, which helps deliver on Microsoft’s Cloud OS vision to provide customers with one consistent platform for infrastructure, apps, and data – spanning customer datacenters, hosting service provider datacenters, and the Microsoft public cloud. Together with Windows Server 2012, System Center 2012 SP1 helps customers take advantage of the latest technical advances in storage, networking, virtualization, and management to help transform their datacenter into a resilient platform for long-term growth while enabling future growth into the cloud.
System Center 2012 SP1 is now available for download here.
System Center 2012 uniquely delivers unified infrastructure, application and cloud management capabilities in a single product offering and this blog post highlights new cloud and datacenter capabilities introduced in SP1. For information about Configuration Manager enhancements in SP1 and related Windows Intune capabilities, please read the client management blog post.
Windows Server 2012 and SQL Server 2012 Support
Windows Server 2012 and SQL Server 2012 were both groundbreaking releases and provide the infrastructure and application platform as the foundation for SP1. With the release of SP1, all System Center 2012 components are now enabled to run in a Windows Server 2012 environment and provide management capabilities for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, Windows Server 2012 Servers, guest operating systems and applications. With SP1, a single instance of Virtual Machine Manager now supports up to 8000 VMs on clusters of up to 64 hosts and customers can easily extend beyond these limits with multiple instances of VMM, enabling datacenter management at large scale. SP1 also now supports the use of SQL Server 2012 as a repository for use by System Center 2012 components.
Software Defined Networking (SDN)
Traditionally, networks have been defined by their physical topology – how the servers, switches, and routers were cabled together and configured. That meant that once you built out your network, changes were costly and complex. SDN addresses these limitations by using software to configure end hosts and physical network elements, dynamically adjusting policies for how traffic flows through the network, and creating virtual network abstractions that support real-time VM placement and migration throughout the datacenter.
Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Network Virtualization already delivers network flexibility by enabling multi-tenant virtual networks on a shared physical network, entirely defined in software. Each tenant gets a complete virtual network, including multiple virtual subnets and virtual routing, defined in a ‘policy.’ In SP1 we’ve built on this, adding management capabilities to simplify the definition and dynamic re-configuration of entire networks. By applying VM placement decisions and the policy updates together, SP1 provides a high degree of agility, automation and centralized control, essential to the smooth operation of a modern datacenter.
Windows Server 2012 also introduces the Hyper-V Extensible Switch which provides a platform through which our partners can extend SDN policies within the switch. One of the most common use cases for this extensibility is to integrate the virtual switch with the rest of the physical network infrastructure. SP1 manages Hyper-V switch extensions to ensure that as VMs migrate, their destination host is configured with the required switch extensions.
SP1 adds management support for isolated tenant networks, IP Virtualization, switch extensions, and logical switch. Our approach allows partners to enlighten their network software and network equipment to participate in, support, and augment the multi-tenant datacenter brought about by Hyper-V Network Virtualization. We think that this open approach, our focus on standards, and our close partnerships across the industry make our solution particularly unique and compelling for customers. Learn more.
DevOps with Global Service Monitor and Visual Studio
Application development and IT operations are being drawn together in organizations that want to improve SLAs and speed time to take new capabilities live. SP1 includes support for the new Windows Azure-based service called “Global Service Monitor” (GSM). GSM extends the application monitoring capabilities in System Center 2012 SP1 using Windows Azure points of presence around the globe, giving a true reflection of end-user experience of your application. Synthetic transactions are scheduled using your on-premises System Center 2012 SP1 Operations Manager console; the GSM service executes the transactions against your web-facing application and GSM reports back the results (availability, performance, functionality) to your on-premises System Center dashboard. You can integrate this perspective with other monitoring data from the same application, taking action as soon as any issues are detected in order to maintain your SLA.
GSM enables a 360-degree monitoring perspective for your web applications and, with Microsoft’s developer and ALM tools, forms part of a broader DevOps solution. Learn more.
Hybrid Cloud Management
SP1 extends the support in System Center 2012 to help integrate off-premises resources into the datacenter while retaining the same ‘single pane of glass’ common management interface:
- Enterprise Consumption of Hosted Cloud Capacity
System Center 2012 introduced the App Controller component to enable organizations to optimize resource usage across their private cloud and Windows Azure resources from a single pane of glass. In SP1, we’ve extended App Controller’s capabilities to integrate cloud resources offered by hosting service providers, giving you the ability to manage a wide range of custom and commodity IaaS cloud services from the same management console for you to manage centrally. SP1 also introduces additional new capabilities for multi-tenant and hosting scenarios. Learn more.
- Windows Azure Virtual Machine Management
The App Controller component in SP1 integrates with the preview of Windows Azure Virtual Machines enabling you to migrate on-premises Virtual Machines to run in Windows Azure and manage them from your on-premises System Center installation. This new functionality enables a range of workload distribution and remote operations scenarios.
- Enhanced Backup and Recovery Options
The Data Protection Manager component in SP1 adds the option to host server backups in the Windows Azure cloud (in supporting countries), helping to protect against data loss and corruption while integrating directly into the existing backup administration interface in System Center. Learn more.
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