I have spent the day dug in at the Cabinet War Rooms in London for Inframon’s annual War on Cost event with the top experts in systems management .  The venue was chosen to reflect the them of the event and much like world war 2 the Americans in the form  of 9 Microsoft experts from the System Center product team were on hand to help.  Other allies also contributed in the form of partners who have built on the System Center framework to enhance its capabilities for interop with and more sophisticated reporting:

  • Silect have MP studio for management pack lifecycle management, plus tools
  • ComTrade have management packs and pro tips for Citrix and Siebel to make these first class citizens in System Center
  • Flexera for sequencing and packaging windows 7 deployments (more on this from Simon)
  • SaVision LiveMaps on top of Ops Manager to give a map with your data centre plus a new product Vital signs which is real time performance management form Ops Manager. This stuff is also Azure aware.
  • Bridgeways works with SCOM to manage Vmware and the all major database vendors,
  • Odyssey Software provides extensions for mobile management in Config Manager for all the smartphones out there

If you weren’t there then it was all filmed for TechNet (I’ll edit this post when it’s live) and you’ll need to catch that if you want to see what v-next of System Center looks like including  Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) and you also can’t make to TechEd in Berlin next week.

What really caught my eye was an early look at SCVMM 2012 which changes the focus form managing servers to managing services so can deploy a Dynamics service, or a SharePoint services etc. It’s looks really well formed already with a shiny office ribbon and slick graphics to  model the service dependencies (databases IIS etc.)  and how elastic this should be. This new SCVMM can then create clouds for different business units into which services into and delegate administration to nominated staff using familiar role based security, they can then use a locked down version of SCVMM to manage just their own cloud.  The vision for System Center is to simply not worry about what infrastructure this is all run on such as the hypervisor or public cloud provider.

A couple of specific things caught my eye are the recent acquisitions around System Center:

  • Avicode looks at .Net apps and whether this is code or infrastructure related, either at the line of code that failed or the fact the system ran out of disk or was io bound.  So no more arguments between developers and IT Professionals about applications not running properly. Moreover Avicode just disappears into Ops Manager so you get the same graphs metrics and us it in the same way as any other management pack. 
  • Opalis  is an IT process automation engine and the key to running a private cloud. However this is not an out of the box solution for private cloud  (I am pretty sure no one has this today) rather it is the tool to automate scale and high availability in the style of a public cloud.

So that’s a quick run through the key weapons that System Center will be bringing to the war on cost in your data centre, and may be ending some of the infighting inside a business by providing clarity about performance and running costs by service.