Editor’s Note: The Right Tool

The Microsoft System Center family of management tools gives you the right tool for the job—whatever that job may be.

Lafe Low

Systems management is IT’s bread and butter. It’s the bulk of your job—the very essence of the profession. And, like any craftsman, you need the right tools. You wouldn’t bring a plumber’s toolbox to an electrician’s job, any more than you’d bring datacenter management tools to work on desktops.

The Microsoft System Center family is your toolbox—your Swiss Army Knife. System Center has a plethora of tools focused on unified management for both datacenter and desktop systems. The System Center toolbox currently includes a range of tools:

Configuration Manager is a real time saver. This helps you build, maintain, deploy and monitor system configurations across your infrastructure, whether it’s made up of physical, virtual or mobile systems.

Data Protection Manager provides unified protection for your corporate data at all levels.

Essentials is another unified, comprehensive package for running smaller IT organizations.

Operations Manager is an end-to-end service management solution.

Opalis is an integrated process management tool for datacenter management.

Service Manager helps automate and adapt service management for disparate systems.

Virtual Machine Manager is the System Center tool for managing and deploying a virtual infrastructure, including server and resource usage optimization.

AVIcode provides performance monitoring for .NET environments and applications.

Advisor is actually provided as a cloud service to assess and manage server configuration.

If you’re interested in taking some of the new System Center solutions out for a test drive, there are beta releases of Data Protection Manager 2012, Operations Manager 2012, Orchestrator 2012 and Configuration Manager 2012 available on the Microsoft System Center page. There are also trial versions of Configuration Manager 2007 R3, Operations Manager 2007 R2, Data Protection Manager 2010 and Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2. There’s a System Center tool for just about every systems management task.

Center Yourself

How do you keep a handle on your IT infrastructure? Do you go best-of-breed or have you selected a uniform set of tools? Let us know what management tools you use every day. While you’re at it, tell us about your management challenges. What keeps you up at night? What drives you crazy during the day? What do you need to do your job better? Sign up for our LinkedIn group, send us an e-mail at tnmag@microsoft.com or e-mail me directly.

Lafe Low

Lafe Low is the editor in chief of TechNet Magazine*. A veteran technology journalist, he’s also the former executive editor of 1105 Media’s* Redmondmagazine. Contact him at llow@1105media.com