Paging all Microsoft System Center users: Your treadmill is here

First Semi-Annual release lands with lots of fun for Windows admins and the hybrid cloud crowd

Microsoft has delivered the first Semi-Annual Channel version of System Center.

Redmond's Semi-Annual Channel sees Windows Server and System Center given upgrades twice a year, but with only 18 months of support. A Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) will publish new versions of the product about every three years, with five years of full support and five more of extended support. This plan just-about-mirrors Windows 10's six-monthly updates, plus the more stable branch offered to users of devices like ATMs that run Windows.

Microsoft's thinking is that some of you will wear more frequent upgrades for the chance to get your hands on new features.

Microsoft previewed the release in November 2017 and on February 8th 2018 announced it's yours for the downloading, here or here.

What's new? Links to Azure, for one. System Center can now manage Azure VMs and Azure Active Directory, and do so across more regions. The tool can also hook into Azure ITSM integration with Azure Action Groups to get alerts about Azure incidents in System Center.

Microsoft has also emphasised the ability to set up nested virtualization, migrate VMware UEFI VMs to Hyper-V, encrypted software-defined networks and configuration of encrypted SDN virtual network, and bringing its shielded VMs technology to Linux guests.

Linux users will also be cheered by "a customizable FluentD-based Linux agent" and Microsoft reckons "Linux log file monitoring is now on par with that of Windows Server."

VMware users may be tempted by tweaks to Data Protection Manager that Microsoft's claimed "can backup VMware VMs faster and cut storage costs by up to 50%."

Microsoft's "Hello World" signs off with "In a couple months, we'll share information about the second release in our Semi-Annual Channel as well as the next release of the Long-Term Servicing channel." News of the Semi-Annual channel is to be expected. News of the Long-Term channel could be interesting, seeing as we're now almost eighteen months past the September 2016 debut of Windows Server 2016 and bigger plans may be afoot. ®

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