The second community technology preview (CTP2) of System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1) released on June 15 updates to System Center 2012 for compatibility with Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate including support for Azure VM and capabilities for Hosted Service Providers.
The CTP2 enables System Center customers to jointly evaluate System Center 2012 and Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate. CTP2 includes updates and enhancements to the following System Center 2012 components:
- Virtual Machine Manager
- Improved Support for Network Virtualization
- Extend the VMM console with Add-ins
- Support for Windows Standards-Based Storage Management Service, thin provisioning of logical units and discovery of SAS storage
- Ability to convert VHD to VHDX, use VHDX as base Operating System image
- Configuration Manager
- Support for Windows 8
- Support for Mac OS clients
- Support for Linux and Unix servers
- Data Protection Manager
- Improved backup performance of Hyper-V over CSV 2.0
- Protection for Hyper-V over remote SMB share
- Protection for Windows Server 2012 de-duplicated volumes
- Uninterrupted protection for VM live migration
- App Controller
- Service Provider Foundation API to create and operate Virtual Machines
- Support for Azure VM; migrate VHDs from VMM to Windows Azure, manage from on-premise System Center
- Operations Manager
- Support for IIS 8
- Monitoring of WCF, MVC and .NET NT services
- Azure SDK support
- Additional support for Integration Packs, including 3rd party
- Manage VMM self-service User Roles
- Manage multiple VMM 'stamps' (scale units), aggregate results from multiple stamps
- Integration with App Controller to consume Hosted clouds
- Service Manager
- Apply price sheets to VMM clouds
- Create chargeback reports
- Pivot by cost center, VMM clouds, Pricesheets
- Server App-V
- Support for applications that create scheduled tasks during packaging
- Create virtual application packages from applications installed remotely on native server
In addition to the above mentioned update, the CTP2 enables System Center to run on and manage the Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate. It scales management to complement the scaling in Windows Server and also adds System Center manageability to the new capabilities in Windows Server 2012 such as virtual networking.
System Center 2012 SP1 also integrates with the last week's announced Windows Azure Virtual Machines enabling you to:
- Move on-premise virtual machines to Azure using App Controller.
- Manage Azure virtual machines from your on-premises System Center using App Controller and Orchestrator using the new Azure Integration Pack.
Global Service Monitor, is a new cloud enabled capability that extends the application monitoring in System Center 2012 to enable you to add "outside-in" testing to incorporate a true reflection of users' experience of your web site or web application.
To evaluate System Center 2012 SP1 with GSM, sign up for the customer preview of GSM.
Hosted Clouds: System Center 2012 helps you optimize your organization's use of both private cloud and Windows Azure resources through the App Controller component.
"System Center 2012 SP1 extends App Controller's capabilities to include cloud resources offered by Hosting Service Providers, giving you the option of consuming a wide range of custom and commodity IaaS cloud services from your Service Provider. For Service Providers, System Center 2012 SP1 adds the new "Service Provider Foundation" (SPF) API. SPF is an extensible OData REST API that can be easily integrated with the hoster's customer portal and is automatically integrated with customers' on-premises App Controller," Microsoft explained.
Also, available for download is the new Forefront Identity Manager 2010 R2 that adds many new capabilities to help organizations handle the growing complexity of managing identity and permissions across heterogeneous systems.
FIM 2010 R2 addresses the complexities of identity management by offering:
- Self-service identity management for your users
- Automated identity lifecycle and role management across heterogeneous platforms for your administrators
- A rich policy framework for enforcing corporate security policies and detailed audit capabilities
Improved Self-service Password Reset: Now with an improved enrollment process, deploying Self Service Password Reset (SSPR) is easier than ever. "We've also extended the password reset portal to work with many of the most popular web browsers available (including Internet Explorer, of course!), and now support extranet-based reset experiences as well. Together, the browser-based reset and extranet support mean that your users can resolve password issues wherever they are, from nearly any device," Microsoft stated.
Role Based Access Control: As part of the FIM 2010 R2 release, the BHOLD software is extended to all FIM 2012 R2 customers.
"Microsoft BHOLD Suite allows customers to easily define and manage access based on user roles. Roles are mapped to multiple permissions across many systems, simplifying access privileges from the user perspective," the Redmond company explained.
"This capability also helps ensure that access rights are maintained over time - even during position, location, and responsibility changes. Once in place, the BHOLD Suite can be used to help demonstrate compliance with organizational and industry/governmental regulations, saving valuable time."
FIM 2010 R2 also offers improved functionality including:
- FIM 2012 R2 now leverages the System Center Service Manager Data Warehouse to store and display reports. "Since the System Center Service Manager Data Warehouse is built around SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), reports may be run through that interface as well," Microsoft said.
- To more easily connect your third-party business applications, the new WebServices Connector available on the Microsoft Download Center. "The WebServices Connector is used to connect to SAP ECC 5/6, Oracle PeopleSoft, and Oracle eBusiness. It is an optional component for FIM 2010 Update 2 and FIM 2010 R2 and can be used on either version."
Microsoft .NET Framework Repair Tool released over the weekend, detects and tries to fix some frequently occurring issues with the setup of or with updates to the Microsoft .NET Framework.
"This tool troubleshoots common issues with the setup of or with updates to Microsoft .NET Framework setup installation," Microsoft stated. Additionally, this tool tries to resolve these issues by applying known fixes or by repairing the installed product.
Finally, if you are looking for answers to some common questions about Windows 8 Release Preview then check out Windows 8 Release Preview FAQ, which covers:
- General questions and answers
- Download and installing
- Using Windows 8 Release Preview
- Apps and the Windows Store
- Internet Explorer 10 Release Preview
- System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 CTP2 download.
- FIM 2010 R2 download.
- Microsoft .NET Framework Repair Tool download.
- Windows 8 Release Preview: FAQ
- Windows 8 Release Preview
- Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate
Also, available today is a new set of templates for you to begin your architectural discussions around Windows Azure. With new offerings coming every six months from the Windows Azure team, the templates provide a set of technologies that fit common scenarios.
Clint Edmunson writes, "In this series going to offer up some architectural recipes to help visualize solutions to the common scenarios we've identified since Azure's launch. These are by no means the only solutions you an solve with Azure or the only way to address these scenarios but hopefully they will provide you with a high level way to visualize your solutions on the Azure platform."
The diagram you see right under is "designed to provide a layered architectural overview of the developer and infrastructure services currently available in Azure and will be the master template for the entire series," Edmunson adds.