21 Sep 2012

System Center 2012 – Your Cloud, Your Way

Microsoft has unofficially branded Windows Server 2012 “the Cloud OS”, and along with the coinciding release of the System Center 2012 suite, they have shaped the entirety of their marketing effort around the concept. Rather than the more traditional push to have a majority of a customer’s infrastructure residing in one place (be that on-premise, in a Service Provider cloud such as Brennan’s IaaS, or in a public cloud such as Windows Azure or Amazon Web Services), Microsoft are encouraging their customers to choose the right fit for all their services, at the service level.

One of the key elements of this strategy is the impending release of System Center AppController (which is still in beta, but generic information can be found here – http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/system-center/application-management.aspx). AppController will allow management of multiple environments – on-premise, in the Service Provider cloud and in the public cloud – from a “single pane of glass”, significantly reducing management overhead for IT administrators running a Hyper-V solution for virtualisation. The Microsoft demonstrations of the technology were seamless, and this part of the suite looks to provide a significantly reduced total cost of ownership for a Hyper-V solution, particularly for larger mid-market customers and enterprises.

Microsoft illustrated the significant number of acquisitions that VMware has undertaken in the past 18 months, and argue that the System Center 2012 suite (consisting of Operations Manager, Configuration Manager, Data Protection Manager, Virtual Machine Manager, Service Manager, Orchestrator and AppController) is a matured, fully integrated solution to the bespoke products that VMware is purchasing and rebranding. There is no doubt that System Center greatly increases the use cases for Hyper-V and Microsoft has streamlined its licensing to accommodate this; all customers who are currently licensed for any System Center product will automatically now have access to all System Center products, greatly decreasing the investment required to get the best out of Hyper-V.

In all, Microsoft have presented a very compelling case for the transition to Hyper-V and System Center from VMware and other competing products, and it will be very intriguing to see whether this translates through to a win in market share for them over the coming months.