Over the last several months, a lot has been happening to the System Center 2016 suite. The anticipated release date is still reported to be early next year, around the release of Windows Server 2016. However, administrators will be able to use System Center Configuration Manager 2012 R2 with SP1 to deploy and manage Windows 10 in time for the July 29, 2015, release. With all the recent updates and each Technical Preview, what should we expect?
What’s New in System Center 2016
Each Technical Preview released to date has shown a number of changes worth mentioning in anticipation of the 2016 final rollout. These changes demonstrate the push for solid “Hybrid Cloud” management and broaden the support for mixed systems infrastructure.
System Center Configuration Manager
One of the more exciting features being released in 2016 is the Peer Cache option. As a client downloads and installs an operating system with a task sequence, that client then can offer the cache through the client agent after its installation. This feature will prove very beneficial to those imaging systems across a WAN connection.
Additional features include the option to manage virtual machines (VM) from your Microsoft Azure subscriptions, multiple automatic deployment rules and even on-premises mobile device management options.
System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM)
Since security has been in the forefront of conversations involving cloud and tenant access, they’ve added a new combined ability to Windows Server 2016 and SCVMM. This new feature is called Guarded Hosts and essentially shields the VM from being accessed unless there is a key presented to the host. This protects the VM and a client’s cloud from exploits a possible would-be attacker may explore due to the access a VM has to certain storage or network objects.
In addition to changes that offer a tighter layer of security, you also have some access changes to your Microsoft Azure subscriptions through SCVMM. Rather than access your Azure VM through System Center App Controller, you will instead configure this access directly in the SCVMM management console.
System Center Operations Manager (SCOM)
While monitoring services in SCOM, having the ability to schedule maintenance can ensure we don’t see alerts or errors generated while the planned maintenance is taking place. A new Maintenance Schedule wizard allows you to manage the various schedule frequencies and multiple entities that would be included in the job. You will also have a new single screen for displaying the schedules, meaning less clicking around to do while you’re planning and reporting on maintenance tasks.
While some great new features have already been added to the expected release, there are some we know aren’t going to make the cut:
- App Controller
- Citrix XenServer and VMware vCenter 4.1/5.1 support in Virtual Machine Manager (VMM)
- Microsoft IT GRC Process Management Pack SP1 for Service Manager
- Server App-V support
- System Center Cloud Service Process Pack (CSPP)
- Authoring Management Packs for Operations Manager with Visio
As with any Technical Preview, we can expect some more changes along the way, but it seems as though we have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming year with both System Center 2016 and Windows Server 2016.
Administering System Center 2012 Configuration Manager (M10747)
Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center (M20409)
Cloud and Datacenter Monitoring with System Center Operations Manager (M10964)