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Microsoft goes global with System Center 2012 at MMC

Windows Server gets 2012 moniker too

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Microsoft announced the global release of System Center 2012 at its 10th annual Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas this morning, and has confirmed that the server version of Windows 8 will be released as Windows Server 2012.

As with the beta, the new System Center 2012 is now available globally in standard and data center editions.

Brad Anderson, corporate vice president of the Management and Security Division, used his keynote to extoll new automation and provisioning features. Pricing structures have also been simplified down to two, he said, adding Microsoft wouldn't "tax" increases in virtualization like others in the industry.

Standard users can run a couple of virtual operating systems for around $1,300, while the data center edition covers unlimited VMs for just over $3,600 – although volume customers should expect serious discounts.

"We will shift from a highly virtualized world into cloud world," Anderson predicted.

"The shift will happen, and as we designed System Center 2012 we had this in mind. We've built this in a way that allows you to manage across the entire spectrum - your physical servers, virtual servers, private and public cloud - and we've optimized to help you move towards cloud computing."

As with the beta code Systems Center 2012 comes in eight chunks: App Controller, Operations Manager, Orchestrator, Service Manager, Virtual Machine Manager, Data Protection Manager, Endpoint Protection and the Configuration Manager. It supports Windows Server Hyper-V, VMWare vSphere, and Citrix XenServer and works with Server, Sun Solaris, and various Linux and Unix distributions on "commodity hardware."

He also announced that Windows Server 8 will be officially dubbed Windows Server 2012, and it'll be out by the end of the year. When it's released Redmond will also put out an update to Systems Center 2012 that in conjunction will open up some new features not seen in current betas, including shifting a virtual machine between two clusters over Ethernet and network virtualization that allows corporate networks to share the same fabric and IP addresses while remaining isolated.

"This is game-changing technology," said Jeff Woolsey, principal program manager for Windows Server Virtualization, who demoed the features. "No other virtualization platform has this and we're simply including it in the box with Windows Server 2012."

To get delegates started Redmond has given each of them what Anderson called a "private cloud on a stick," but in more prosaic terms is a USB stick with the complete Systems Center 2012 release on it. Once inserted in a machine, users are asked a few questions and can go away for dinner and come back to find a private Microsoft cloud set up Anderson promised. We'll be keeping an eye out for crash reports. ®

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