Microsoft System Center 2012… the new IT Manager


Trying to explain Microsoft’s System Center 2012 in a single article would be like trying to explain how the brain works in a single page.  The problem stems from the answer being so complex that a simple overview has a tendency to create false understanding.


The simple definition of Systems Center is that it is a bundled suite of products that manage systems through tools to monitor and automate virtualized environments.  It offers solutions for managing datacenter resources, private clouds (based on Microsoft Hyper-V), and client devices. It delivers unified management across on-premises, service provider, and Windows Azure environments, thereby enabling the Microsoft Cloud OS.


On the surface, this simple definition of System Center is absolutely accurate; however, this 50,000 foot view does not explore the individual programs that allow System Center to do its job… nor does it explain what those individual programs can do.  Systems Center 2012 consists of:


  • System Center Operations Manager
  • System Center Configuration Manager
  • System Center Endpoint Protection Manager (now integrated into Configuration Manager)
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager
  • System Center Data Protection Manager
  • System Center Orchestrator
  • System Center App Controller
  • System Center Service Manager
  • System Center Advisor


Previously, these programs were offered in standalone versions; however,  this left the client fumbling around trying to decide which program to buy for which part of the business and how to implement it with the others.  Confusing to say the very least about that approach.  Now, System Center 2012 will only offers these programs as a bundle. This greatly reduces the need for the client to try and determine which of the programs are needed for their organization.  Instead, you get everything and can choose what to implement from your arsenal.


Over the next few months, we at Uncommon will be taking a deep dive into System Center 2012 to look at each program in the bundle.  These programs are divided into three different silos of control: Application Management, Service Delivery and Automation, and Infrastructure Management.  Next month, we will look at those programs which are responsible for Application Management:


  • App Controller
  • Virtual Machine Manager
  • Operations Manager


Some of these programs will be critical to any organization managing their infrastructure, others will be nice widgets to have but not really mission critical.  Join us next month as we look into the cloud portal, the VM manager, and the system/software monitoring packages.


If you are already thinking about System Center 2012, you can get it in two flavors - Standard, which can be deployed to a maximum of two virtual machines (VMs) and Datacenter, which allows for deployment to unlimited VMs.  As of the writing of this article, the cost for Standard is $1,323 and Datacenter is $3,607.  When considering which license is best for your organization, consider the growth of your company over the next 18 months.  If you plan to heavily move into the virtual realm, then Datacenter is the way to go... but if you are going to keep most of your programs on physical boxes, then you will probably be served well by the Standard offering.  Feel free to contact us for an evaluation of your system and recommendations that fulfill your organization’s mission.