Microsoft Ignite 2016 is less than a week away, and we’re getting ready for some exciting announcements during the event. One of the eagerly anticipated releases will be Microsoft System Center 2016. The core components of System Center 2012 R2 are back, with the exception of App Controller. Microsoft continues its drive to simplify datacentre management and provide a single pane of glass to manage all your IT infrastructure, whether on-premises, in the cloud or across platforms.
Let’s look at a few of the more significant new features in this release
Windows Server 2016 Support
Perhaps the most obvious “feature” in System Center 2016 is support for Microsoft’s new server OS and all the new capabilities that are a part of that release. Some of these key new capabilities include rolling cluster upgrades, support for Nano Server based hosts and VM’s, shielded vm’s and Storage Spaces Direct. Along with this, Microsoft are also targeting broader support in System Center 2016 for heterogeneous environments, including Linux, Hyper-V and VMware. This brings us closer than ever to a “single pane of glass” to manage our IT environments.
Microsoft’s mantra since Satya Nadella took over has been “Mobile first, Cloud First”. As part of that, System Centre offers greater integration with Microsoft’s cloud based IT management solution, Operations Management Suite. Each of the core components of System Center can be integrated with OMS to provide additional functionality, including analytics, reporting, automation, control, security, compliance, protection and disaster recovery meaning greater capabilities for users without additional applications.
Where’s Configuration Manager?
SCCM is conspicuous in its absence when Microsoft talks about the impending release of System Center 2016. As announced at Ignite in 2015, Microsoft has moved SCCM to a faster release cadence that aligns it with the release cadence of Windows 10 and Microsoft Intune. Moving faster with SCCM upgrades will allow you to take advantage of the very latest feature innovations in Windows 10, as well as other operating systems such as Apple iOS and Android when using Configuration Manager integrated with Microsoft Intune for mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM) capabilities. The current SCCM version (1606) will reportedly support Windows Server 2016 when it’s released in the coming weeks. So if you have already adopted the SCCM update cycle, managing implementations of the new server OS will be relatively painless.
Cores or Sockets?
Something that hasn’t garnered a lot of press has been the move of both System Center 2016 and Server 2016 to physical core licensing. While you won’t pay more for licensing if you run dual 8-core processors, those of you managing servers with four or more processors or if those processors have 10 or more cores, will require “additional licensing.” Microsoft’s justification for the move is to align licensing with the common measure for capacity across both on-premises and cloud environments- CPU cores.
Of course, there will also be the usual performance and user improvements that accompany each software upgrade. All-in-all it looks like a very solid upgrade, building on the significant improvements made with System Center 2012 R2.
Look out for the announcements next week at Microsoft Ignite and stay tuned for in-depth insights into some of the key product changes from our consultants.