Posted by Matt Theodores
General Manager, Marketing Strategy, Open Solutions Group

Yesterday Microsoft announced a significant milestone in its cloud computing strategy and solutions: the availability of System Center 2012 Release Candidate (RC), which customers can start using now to build private clouds.

With System Center 2012, Microsoft introduces an offering that delivers many of the management capabilities one would expect of a private cloud, along with the best economics currently available. One of the tenets of Microsoft’s private cloud solutions and System Center 2012 is “cross platform from the metal up.” We know our customers have mixed environments so we aim to help them manage across multiple hypervisors and operating systems. Microsoft’s partners play a huge role in helping customers use System Center to its fullest potential by further extending support to non-Microsoft platforms.

A couple partners have gone a step further, working with the Open Solutions Group (OSG) at Microsoft to make their offerings, which build on the cross-platform capabilities of System Center, more affordable and easy to acquire. 

For example, SUSE and the Open Solutions Group at Microsoft have been working together since 2006, and have helped more than 800 customers benefit from joint efforts to improve interoperability and support between Windows and Linux. We recently extended this agreement through 2016 and remain committed to working in tandem on solutions that help our customers manage critical workloads in mixed-source environments.  

Most recently, SUSE is collaborating with OSG to provide interoperability between SUSE Manager and System Center to support Linux deployment, patching and updating. This will enable systems administrators to manage and update SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and other compatible Linux distributions from the same System Center management console that they use to manage Windows Servers. The net result will be additional savings of time and money, and seamless control across a range of heterogeneous platforms. 

Another great example of this collaboration can be seen with BridgeWays, a provider of management packs that extend System Center monitoring to a variety of applications and databases running on Microsoft and non-Microsoft platforms including Linux, UNIX and VMware. BridgeWays has been actively soliciting customer feedback and releasing expanded capabilities for monitoring areas of greatest customer need. 

Recently, BridgeWays enhanced its VMware management packs with additional capabilities. Additionally, the company currently provides database management through its management packs, including the ability to monitor non-Microsoft databases such as Oracle, MySQL and DB2 from a single console. BridgeWays expects to add additional functionality to their existing database management packs and support additional database platforms through future releases.

While strengthening its solution portfolio, BridgeWays has also been working closely with the Open Solutions Group to make these extended cross-platform System Center capabilities more affordable and easier for customers to procure.

A good example of the value delivered by our partner collaborations can be seen with Standard Life, an international savings and investment company using System Center and BridgeWays management packs to monitor their VMware environment right alongside their Windows Server environment. The company’s IT department has found it is more efficient and cost effective to use System Center to manage both environments in their data centers.  

SUSE and BridgeWays aren’t the only ones providing cross platform capabilities for System Center. Companies have many options to consider as they strive to balance cost, capability and manageability. However, because of our relationship with these two companies, we are able to offer simplified purchasing through Microsoft and its resellers. Our goal in working with these partners is to help customers navigate the many choices and provide a solution that meets their needs without sacrificing price or performance.