Microsoft Wraps Off Cloud OS, Announces System Center 2012 SP1, New Windows Intune

Microsoft wraps off its vision of Cloud OS, announce the General Availability of System Center 2012 Service Pack 1, the new Windows Intune, and Windows Azure services for Windows Server, Global Service Monitor (GSM) and Azure-based System Center Advisor. Microsoft 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.

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Microsoft announced several new products and services today that deliver against the Cloud OS. So, what does the Cloud OS mean?

"With Windows Server and Windows Azure at its core, the Cloud OS provides a consistent platform across customer datacenters, service provider datacenters and the Microsoft public cloud, taking the heavy lifting out of administration and freeing IT organizations to be more innovative as they embrace hybrid cloud computing and the consumerization of IT," said Michael Park, cvp of marketing for Server and Tools, Microsoft.

Further, "It means your organization can shift to more efficiently managing datacenter resources as a whole, including networking, storage and compute. You will be able to deliver powerful apps that boost employee productivity and delight your customers much, much faster across private, hybrid and public clouds," Microsoft explains.

To deliver against its Cloud OS vision, Microsoft released the following new products and services:

  • General Availability of System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 brings the full range of System Center management to Windows Server 2012 for private and hybrid cloud-based computing. It provides a single tool to manage cloud based applications and resources running in a private, hosted or public cloud.
  • Windows Intune a cloud-based service and System Center Configuration Manager are a unified PC and mobile device management solution. Together they provide a comprehensive approach to securing and managing the new generation of powerful Windows 8 PCs, Windows RT tablets and Windows Phone 8 smartphones, as well as the diversity of other platforms in today's modern enterprise, including Android and iOS.
  • Windows Azure services for Windows Server allow hosting service providers to use their Windows Server datacenters to provide the same high-scale web site and virtual machine hosting capabilities announced this past summer in Windows Azure. These capabilities are specifically designed for easy incorporation into hosting service providers' offerings for deployment to their customer base.
  • Global Service Monitor (GSM): System Center 2012 SP1 now includes support for a new Windows Azure-based service called "System Center Global Service Monitor (GSM)" to evaluate and boost the performance of Web apps. "GSM extends the application monitoring capabilities in System Center 2012 SP1 using Windows Azure locations around the globe, giving a true reflection of end-user application experiences," explains Microsoft.
  • System Center Advisor is a Azure-based management solution that enables IT departments to assess server configurations and proactively avoid problems, help to resolve issues faster and reduce downtime.
  • Lab Management & Windows 2012 - With the System Center 2012 SP1 release today and Visual Studio 2012 Update 1, "you can use Lab Management with Windows 8 hosts to streamline your flow of code from development into the test environment - removing friction from your dev process."
  • Incident integration - Operations Manager in System Center 2012 SP1 and TFS/VS 2012, further streamlined the workflow for managing production incidents.
  • Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 released today contains several enhancements, including:
    • Support for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, including delivery of Windows 8 applications, the ability to limit downloads on 3G and 4G network connections to prevent unwanted data charges, and support for Windows To Go
    • Native management of Windows Embedded devices
    • Support for PowerShell for administrative tasks
    • Windows Azure-based Distribution Points
    • Support for Mac OS X devices and Linux and Unix servers
  • Endpoint Protection 2012 SP1 offer following enhancements:
    • Ability to automatically deploy definition update three times per day
    • Real-time administrative actions to update definitions, scan, and remediate issues quickly
    • Client-side merge of antimalware policies
  • Operations Manager 2012 SP1 offer following new monitoring capabilities:
    • Monitoring Windows Services Built on the .NET Framework
    • Automatic Discovery of ASP.NET MVC3 and MVC4 Applications
    • New Transaction Types: MVC Pages and WCF Methods
    • Enabled APM of SharePoint 2010
    • Integration with Team Foundation Server 2010 and Team Foundation Server 2012
    • Conversion of Application Performance Monitoring events to IntelliTrace format
    • Collecting Historical Traces Using IntelliTrace Profiling Management Pack
    • 360 .NET Application Monitoring Dashboards
    • Support for CentOS, Debian, Oracle, and Ubuntu Linux
    • Improved Heartbeat Monitoring
  • Orchestrator 2012 SP1 now supports being installed on Windows Server 2012/Windows 8 and SQL Server 2012 (including support for Always On).
    • New Integration Packs in System Center 2012 SP1
      • Exchange Administrator Integration Pack for Orchestrator in System Center 2012 SP1
      • Exchange Users Integration Pack for Orchestrator in System Center 2012 SP1
      • Representational State Transfer (REST) Integration Pack Guide for Orchestrator in System Center 2012 SP1
      • Integration packs for each of the components in System Center 2012 SP1
    • Updated Integration Packs in System Center 2012 SP1
      • Active Directory Integration Pack for System Center 2012 - Orchestrator
      • HP Service Manager Integration Pack for System Center 2012 - Orchestrator
      • System Center Integration Pack for System Center 2012 Operations Manager
      • System Center Integration Pack for System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager
      • VMware vSphere Integration Pack for System Center 2012 - Orchestrator
  • Active Directory and Windows Azure AD provide a powerful base for single identity across clouds to securely extend applications to people and their devices.
  • Last but not least, a complete data platform powered by SQL allows you to manage petabytes of data, power mission critical applications and give businesspeople BI solutions with a range of tools - Excel all the way up to Hadoop.

For more information and to sign up for a free 30-day trial subscription to Windows Intune, here. System Center 2012 SP1 can be downloaded throguh MSDN and TechNethere, and subscribers as well as through the Volume Licensing Software Center.

System Center Advisor is now available to all Microsoft customers, not just those with Software Assurance.

GSM is now available for trial here and will be broadly available in March.

Technical Documentation Download for System Center 2012:

Technical Documentation Download for Technical Scenarios for System Center 2012 SP1:

System Center 2012 SP1 Evaluation VHD's

Update: Microsoft also, announced today--Redis on Windows Azure: "the open-source, networked, in-memory, key-value data store."

"We've released a new 64-bit version that gives developers access to the full benefits of an extended address space. This was an important step in our journey toward full Windows support," Microsoft Open Technologies team said.

You can download it from the Microsoft Open Technologies github repository.