News from the first 24 hours at Microsoft Management Summit 2011

Colin Smith is attending MMS 2011 in Las Vegas this week and has already seen some important announcements from Microsoft that will be of particular interest to Windows admins, including new tools.

This week I'm attending the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS 2011) in Las Vegas. This conference is focused on managing the Microsoft platform with an emphasis on the System Center offerings. There are nine different tracks so it will be impossible to attend every session but after an afternoon and a morning, so far, I've been privy to a few announcements that are very interesting to me and important news for Windows administrators.

Configuration Manager P2V tool

This physical-to-virtual tool will be officially announced tomorrow (the official name might change by the time you read this, but I saw a demo of it yesterday, and it is quite slick). What's special about this tool compared to the other options for creating a VM from a physical server? First of all, unlike SA P2V, which is targeted at workstations, this tool supports P2V of a Windows Server without any backend infrastructure, such as System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SC VMM). Some other interesting features:

  • The ability to create a sector based VHD of a physical system that can be used for disaster recovery purposes
  • Post image boot clean-up to allow the image to boot as a VM or as a physical system on a VHD
  • The ability to convert a physical system to virtual on the same hardware assuming it has more than one disk available.

Remember my first TechRepublic post about booting from a VHD? This tool would be a good complement to building a library of bootable VHDs for both physical and virtual systems. More details available here.

System Center Advisor

Previously code named "Atlanta SC Advisor," this was announced and demoed today. This is a free cloud-based tool available to customers of Windows Server, Exchange, SQL and other back office products with software assurance. It is a bundle of best practises that provides configuration health checks and potential remediation options for managed systems. More details here.

System Center code name: "Concero"

Last year, I advocated for corporate IT departments to consider implementing some cloud like self-service options for their internal customers. Well, apparently Microsoft does too. SC Concero is targeted at consumers of internal private cloud services. It gives them the ability to control their VMs, clouds, and services through a self-service portal much like you would use with EC2, Rackspace, or any other public cloud provider. I saw a demo of this in conjunction with SC VMM and it was a very good first step. I'm looking forward to seeing how this evolves. More details here.

SCCM 2012 Unix/Linux Support

Announced today, SCCM 2012, which is currently in Beta 2, will support UNIX and Linux out of the box. MS will initially provide support for basic inventory and software distribution to Red Hat, Suse, HP-UX, Solaris, and AIX. You may notice that this is the same list of supported platforms as SCOM 2007 R2

SC Opalis renamed to SC Orchestrator

I've been a fan of Opalis for about five years. It was a Canadian company that was acquired by Microsoft. SC Orchestrator provides tight integration with other System Center products and permits some very sophisticated data center automation. No big announcements except for the name change.

Other interesting stuff

  • Benchmark data indicates that the Hyper-V dynamic memory option available in Windows Server 2008 SP1 increases VDI density by 40% when using Windows 7 SP1 guests.
  • Microsoft is serious about third-party patching. Check out SCUP 2011.

More tidbits to come later this week. If you are at MMS and would like to meet up, please contact me through TechRepublic.

About Colin Smith

Colin Smith is a Microsoft SCCM MVP who has been working with SMS since version 1.0. He has over 20 years of experience deploying Microsoft-based solutions for the private and public sector with a focus on desktop and data center management.

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