Windows Azure provides on-demand infrastructure that scales and adapts to your changing business needs. Whether you are creating brand new applications or running existing applications, Windows Azure Virtual Machines allows you to extend your on-premises environments to the cloud. You can deploy your own customized Windows Server or Linux images into Windows Azure Virtual Machines or get started with a pre-configured image, in minutes… Through the use of Windows Azure’s Virtual Network service along with Virtual Machines, the cloud becomes a seamless extension of your enterprise datacenter with commercially backed SLAs...
Naturally, with this new extension arises a new question; “Can I manage these servers in the cloud in the same way as I manage servers on-premises? I need to use the products, technologies and skills I already have.” You expect that the experience should be exactly the same whether the server is physically in your datacenter or running in Windows Azure Virtual Machines. Today, we’re happy to announce that we are enabling support for managing Windows Azure Virtual Machines using System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 or later and, System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection SP1 or later. That means, using the same products and skills you use for your on-premises datacenters, you can continue to manage your servers in the cloud. No need to re-tool or re-skill.
Let’s take a closer look into the two supported scenarios, which have been the most demanded use cases by our customers and partners since we have announce general availability of Windows Azure Virtual Machines and Virtual Network.
Simply put, your management smarts stay on-premises and your server agents in the cloud communicate back to them using a secured, IPsec based Windows Azure Virtual Network connection.
Imagine an e-commerce application - make it one that sees seasonally variable customer traffic - which is also running in Windows Azure Virtual Machines. You grow and shrink the compute resources, virtualized servers, available to this app to manage the peaks and the valleys. In this scenario, through a single pane of glass running on-premises, you can path your virtual servers in the cloud and complete your configuration management. You might even forget that this app is running in virtualized servers in the cloud as they are managed from the same single pane of System Center glass that manages your desktop clients and on-premises servers.
In the table below, you can find the specific Configuration Manager features supported for this scenario.
Imagine a start-up, born in the cloud running all of its mission critical apps in Windows Azure Virtual Machines. It makes sense for this organization to take advantage of Configuration Manager running in a virtual machine in the cloud.
It is only fair that you ask how licensing and support will work for these scenarios. Through a flexible license mobility model, we enable you to assign on-premises licenses of Configuration Manager to manage instances running in Windows Azure. On-premises licenses with active Software Assurance qualify for mobility. You can find the full detail in the System Center licensing guidance. And, when you have questions, you call us directly within your Windows Azure support plan. No handoffs and no transfers. For Windows Azure Virtual Machines plus, System Center Configuration Manager we got your support needs covered.
What have we covered so far? Making the cloud a seamless extension of your enterprise datacenter, reusing your existing management tools and skills, reassigning your licenses with SA to do so and, replying on a single vendor for support. What is next? Giving it a spin… You can test for yourself how System Center Configuration Manager works to manage your servers running in Windows Azure Virtual Machines. If you have not signed up for a free Windows Azure trial yet, you can do so here.
P.S. The following Linux distributions are endorsed for Windows Azure Virtual Machines: Canonical UBUNTU 12.04, CENTOS by Open Logic 6.3, SUSE 11SP2 and requires version 184.108.40.20648 or later of the Linux client for Configuration Manager. You can find endorsed Linux distributions for Windows Azure Virtual Machines at this link. For the entire list of Microsoft server workloads supported on Windows Azure Virtual Machines, please use this link.
*Software inventory for Linux clients is achieved through hardware inventory, which collects natively installed software - similar to add/remove programs for Windows systems.
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties and confers no rights.
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