A brief overview of the Microsoft Management Summit 2011

Last week was probably one of the few times when I wished I was in Vegas, as it played host to a sold out Microsoft Management Summit (MMS). The easiest way to describe the many announcements made was that the entire System Center suite will be upgraded this year and the product team also announced a a couple of new things as well. To get a sense of this you can watch the keynote on TechNet edge, and here’s a quick run down of what caught my eye...


System Center Virtual Machine Manager

SCVMM 2012 will be another step on the path to a private cloud. It allows you dynamically pool compute, network and storage across your data centre to provide and cost-effective Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Part of this is that SCVMM can be used to manage (and I don’t mean just migrate) the three major hypervisors (Hyper-V, Vmware and Citrix XenServer). BTW SCVMM 2012 will still have a self service portal for the business to provision services and any work you have done with this SCVMM 2008 will work with SCVMM 2012 behind it.

Oh and one other thing SCVMM includes server app-v to separate and manage the application from its underlying infrastructure even to the point of deploying an application to Azure and not have the infrastructure in house at all. If you want to see what all of this actually looks like and/or you are beta mad like me then you might want to download the prebuilt  SCVMM2012 beta virtual machine and put it through its paces (note it’s not supported for use in production).  

In the meantime SP1 of SCVMM2008 R2 has now been released which supports the dynamic memory feature of Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. There is a trial install on the SCVMM site and a full version of it on TechNet for subscribers.


System Center Advisor

This is another example of the truth behind the Microsoft marketing message of 'We’re all in'. This is a cloud service like Windows Intune (also released at MMS) but this is designed to monitor the health of servers, not PCs, so essentially Operations Manager in the cloud. Don’t panic too much - you don’t need to connect all your servers to the internet to get the benefit of this - it works just like Operations Manager by having a designated gateway server that pulls telemetry form the other servers, and only this one then needs to communicate with SCA. This was originally called Project Atlanta and I have 3 posts showing this in action (part1 introduction, part 2 installation, part 3 management) albeit just for managing SQL Server.


System Center Configuration Manager

SCCM 2012 will have a couple of key features: better support for users’ identities across multiple real and virtual desktops, and management of VDI deployments, including built in support for Citrix XenApp.



For me the most interesting bit of the System Center suite was the Opalis acquisition, and in its next incarnation it will be called Orchestrator. This not only orchestrates System Center, it works with pretty well any tool in the system management space to provide run book automation, such as third party help desk solutions and the management tools that come with many hardware platforms.



Perhaps the hardest and the easiest of the new announcements is Concero, which will connect to every service you have, be it on premise or in the cloud, and move them seamlessly between the two.

This early screenshot shown at MMS give you some idea of where this is going:

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