The entire Microsoft System Center series of products is advancing up and down the stack. The System Center 2010 portfolio includes two new products that are in release to manufacturing (RTM). Here’s what you need to know about System Center Essentials and Data Protection Manager.

  • System Center Essentials (SCE) is a management component of System Center targeted at infrastructures that total 50 or less Windows servers. Among the features of SCE is that it is a unified console to provide system management for clients and servers with features that include asset management, software deployment, network monitoring, and patch management. SCE also has limited virtual machine management for the Hyper-V role. In fact, Virtual Machine Manager is part of SCE.
    SCE is available as a free evaluation download from the Microsoft website.
  • Data Protection Manager (DPM) provides a number of client, server, and application-specific data protection solutions. DPM is fully aware of SQL, Exchange, SharePoint, and other server-side applications to offer a unified data protection offering across a Microsoft client and server infrastructure.

    DPM is different than traditional NTBackup and the Windows Server Backup feature in a number of ways. Primarily, DPM works as an integrated System Center component to two or more systems compared to just one with NTBackup and the Windows Server Backup feature. Secondly, there are tight integrations to applications, as well as usability features that include user-initiated restore operations. DPM can save storage by a series of features that filter storage requirements for backups; Microsoft claims these disk savings can be as much as 90 percent in typical environments.

    DPM is available for a free evaluation from the Microsoft website. You can also take a look at virtual labs for online demonstrations to preview without installation.

Windows Server administrators, how are you using System Center? Let us know in the discussion.

Stay on top of the latest Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 tips and tricks with our free Windows Server newsletter, delivered each Wednesday.

Automatically sign up today!