System Center 2016 and New Services for Operations Management Suite Rleased

For ease of management across a hybrid cloud, System Center 2016 integrates with Operations Management Suite. And, TFS "15" RC 2 released.

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System Center 2016 latest release of datacenter management solution and new capabilities for Microsoft Operations Management Suite, expanding your options for cloud-based management and security.

System Center 2016 and Operations Management Suite give you the options you need to handle the cloud transition, building on the on-premises capabilities of System Center with the simplicity and speed of Azure-based management in Operations Management Suite.

In addition, licensing options for hybrid and cloud environments expanded.

For Operations Management Suite solutions, "two new subscription options with access to key technologies across the four solutions, as well as all of System Center" is announced.

"Operations Management Suite E1 includes Insight & Analytics and Automation & Control," and "Operations Management Suite E2 includes everything in E1" and adds both Security & Compliance and Protection & Recovery services.

Both E1 and E2 include subscription rights to System Center. To add further flexibility, "you can also access pay-as-you-go options for each service," also with aligned System Center components.

With these expanded options, "you can now use the exact set of services that is best for you today, with flexibility to grow in the future," team said.

Also, today expands data center management capabilities, while streamlining performance and workflows, and driving greater Linux support.

For example, you can leverage the security enhancements in Windows Server 2016 for shared environments by managing Shielded Virtual Machines and the Host Guardian Service.

System Center 2016 also enables you to perform a rolling upgrade for cluster nodes without stopping workloads and manage the lifecycle for Windows Server 2016 Nano Server, the new minimal footprint installation option.

For software-defined storage, you will find improved functionality to maintain desired end-to-end quality of service (QoS) and faster retrieval of data using storage tiers.

System Center 2016 also increases monitoring capability across your Windows and Linux environments through easy discoverability of management packs, alert tuning, and scheduled maintenance windows to reduce alert noise.

With Operations Management Suite, Microsoft today expands the services:

Insight & Analytics includes log collection and search, application and server dependency mapping, as well as network health monitoring. Releases this week include:

New application and service monitoring capabilities for Azure SQL, MySQL, and VMware hosts
Connector for Application Insights enabling integrated application and workload analytics
Azure activity log search
New ingestion APIs for expanded data and log collection

Automation & Control includes services to assist with process automation, desired state configuration, change tracking and new update management capabilities, as well as hybrid runtime.

Enhanced Update Management features including insights into time estimates as well as sequencing of updates needed to keep Windows Server and Linux systems up-to date
Change tracking enhanced with granular file-based tracking to support Windows Server and Linux environments

Security & Compliance delivers instant insight into security vulnerabilities, uses advanced analytics to detect threats, and offers built-in threat intelligence and rapid search of security data to enable rapid investigation.

Azure Security Center availability as part of Operations Management Suite
Expanded security data ingestion using Common Event Format, including new Cisco ASA
New behavioral analytics designed to detect insider threats and attempts that persist within a compromised system

Protection & Recovery helps you keep critical data protected through integrated cloud backup, and applications available, while minimizing the impact of disruptions to the business. Including both Backup and Site Recovery, the service provides an integrated experience for customers.

Expanded Linux and VMware backup and recovery support
Integrated monitoring with Log Analytics, including Site Recovery capacity planning

To get a hands-on experience of the new technology, you can try Operations Management Suitetry Operations Management Suite here, or evaluate System Center 2016 here.

Also, a Public Preview of the Application Insights Connector in OMS Log Analytics is made available today.

Application Insights, an analytics service is designed for developers, monitors live web applications. It enables you to detect and diagnose performance issues and understand what users do with your app.

Integrating your Application Insights apps to OMS increases your organization's visibility over your applications by having operation and application data in one place.

With the Application Insights Connector in OMS, you can:

View all your Application Insights apps in a single pane of glass, even if they are in different subscriptions
Correlate infrastructure data with application data
Visualize application data with perspectives in OMS search
Pivot from the Log Analytics data to your Application Insights app in the Azure portal

Also available today is the VMware Monitoring Solution with using OMS Log Analytics in Public Preview.

"This solution collects VMware ESXi host logs from any location and provides centralized searching and viewing for better monitoring and troubleshooting," explains Microsoft. 'By using the native ESXi host syslog forwarding to a Linux VM, OMS Agent for Linux collects the data and passes it to OMS as you see in the following diagram.

Feature available to this solution:

VM activities such as user creation/deletion information
Clear presentation of event tracking and failure status
ESXi host SCSI events, storage latency, and host path failure

Another product goes to public preview today is the OMS Gateway with SCOM support that provides a way to send data from your SCOM Management Server and SCOM Agents to OMS.

keep in mind that installing this Gateway will replace previous versions of the Gateway you have installed.

Now IT Pros can see the health of applications monitored by Visual Studio Application Insights by sending the app data to Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS).

The preview now enabling app developer and their IT Pro counterpart to each monitor the health of critical applications in the tool they are most experienced with.

"Views of the same application telemetry you see in Application Insights will be available in OMS, facilitating more effective collaboration between developers and IT Pros, and thus reducing the time to detect and resolve both application and platform issues."

Information about your application's health and usage is surfaced in OMS by the Public Preview of the Application Insights Connector for OMS Log Analytics. Telemetry streams from web tests, page views, server requests, exceptions, and custom events are included.

With this facility, "OMS users can correlate any infrastructure issues with the impact on applications running in that environment." And, IT staff can "contribute more fully to monitoring the whole stack from the infrastructure and configuration management provided by other OMS solutions, to the application layer data provided by Application Insights."

TFS 2015 Update 2 in "trial mode" allowed user with Basic access level to access all features of Release Management. However, today the company has finalized the pricing model for Release Management in time for the release of TFS "15" RTM.

This new pricing model is in effect starting from TFS "15" RC2, writes the team.

The only option that is still not available in RC2 is the ability to buy ala-carte extensions from the Marketplace. However, this is work in progress, and is expected to complete by TFS "15" RTM.

  • No additional per-user charge any more for Release Management. Earlier versions of Release Management (Release Management Server 2013) required Visual Studio Test Professional or Enterprise subscriptions for users in order for them to author release definitions. That is no longer the case. Just like Build, Release Management can be used by all users in your TFS as long as they have a Basic access level or TFS CAL. Just like before, Stakeholders can continue to approve or reject releases even without a Basic access level or TFS CAL.
  • No charge for agents for Release Management. Register any number of agents with your TFS.
  • Charge for concurrent pipelines for Release Management is the number of pipelines you can run at a time. A pipeline is just a single release. By default, you an always run one pipeline at a time for free. Additional releases that you create will be queued automatically. When you deploy a release to several environments in parallel, all the deployments still count as one pipeline, since they are part of a single release.
  • You can also buy additional release pipelines concurrency from Visual Studio marketplace without having to buy an entire Visual Studio Enterprise subscription.

Now, when you upgrade to TFS "15" RC2 or above, you will notice that:

Release Management is not in "trial mode" any more.
All Basic users in your server can access all Release Management features.
The number of concurrent pipelines that you can run is set to the free limit of "1" per server.
The "Resource limits" page under Settings -> Build and Release tab is where you manage the number of concurrent pipelines for your server.

Team Foundation Server "15" RC 2 available. Here are some few among the enhancements since RC1 are:

  • An improved pull request experience. This has been getting rave reviews from internal users.
    Pull request auto-complete – a great way to fire and forget pull requests.
    The ability to purchase and install paid extension in TFS "15" (the release notes don't list this one yet but I'm getting them updated).

You can upgrade from RC1, TFS 2015 with any update, TFS 2013 with any update and TFS 2012.

Of course, you will, of course, also be able to upgrade from this release to the final RTM.