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Rob Waggoner

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I have these conversations a lot.  Why System Center, especially with Hyper-V?  What’s the story?

First, I’m passionate about Hyper-V and System Center.  Together they are a knockout combination.  Hyper-V is the best hypervisor on the planet… Period.  It’s fast, its scalable and its included!  That’s right, Hyper-V is included in the Windows OS.  Remember that virtualization isn’t right for every situation, you need a holistic approach to datacenter design, but when virtualization is the right solution, Hyper-V will meet your needs.

Now on to System Center…  When you use System Center to manage your environment, it can manage both your physical and virtual environment.  It can manage all of your physical environment; all the way down to your Routers and Switches!  OK, that’s some of the lower components, but System Center also manages up to your applications and business solutions.  It can alert you of a hardware failure, and it can also alert you to the fact that your business application may not be performing adequately. 

Let’s start with alerts around some of the less obvious things like a power supply failure in your server. 

Think about this, servers these days typically have redundant power supplies... Right?  How do you know when one power supply fails?  System Center can alert you so that you can replace the failed power supply before your other power supply fails.  Why is that important?  You’d be surprised at the number of people that admit that the way they find out about a power supply failure is when the second power supply fails and the server goes down.  Using System Center to avoid this type of outage, how’s that for usable insight?

As far as managing up? 

System Center can provide true insight into servers like SQL and Exchange.  System Center can alert you to actions you could take to improve performance, or automatically take action in some situations.  System Center can also alert you when your solution needs attention.  Maybe one of your redundant servers is degraded…  System Center can give you the insight to know whether the situation constitutes an emergency or if the situation is something that may need attention “soon”.

System Center can also look holistically at your solution.  Who cares if your SQL Server is up and running if the switch its connected to is down?  Again, System Center can identify barriers to the solution delivery so that your staff can understand the impact of a failed of degraded service. 

I spend most of my time talking to partners focused on the small and medium sized business.  No doubt you’ve heard about System Center 2012.  System Center 2012 offers a lot of new capabilities and I’ll touch on a few of those high points in a minute, but I want to remind you that System Center Essentials is still a viable solution for our smaller customers that don’t need all of the power and capabilities of System Center 2012. Here is a quick list of the capabilities System Center Essentials and System Center 2012 have to offer.  Below I’ll list a few of the System Center 2012 specific details that differentiate it from System Center Essentials.

 

Full insight into the performance and availability of your Microsoft workloads like SQL, Exchange and Active Directory

Hardware monitoring, such as power supply and on board component failures

Workstation and PC management

SAN Monitoring - temperature, performance and drive status to name a few

Hardware events like drive failures throughout the environment

Software and patch deployment

Hardware and software inventories

Network monitoring - including devices like routers and switches

Linux Server monitoring

PhP web server monitoring 

Backups - Physical machine and Virtual machines

This is a list of highlights available in System Center Essentials and System Center 2012.

 

System Center 2012 includes additional capabilities like being able to manage not only Hyper-V, but the VMware and Citrix XenServer hypervisors as well.  System Center 2012 is a whole discussion on its own, but a few of the additional differentiators that stand out to me are: 1)the ability to scale beyond 50 servers and 500 workstations, and 2) providing the ability to scale into the cloud.  With System Center 2012, you can manage workloads in your environment and workloads in the cloud all from the same management console. 

Until next time,

Rob