System Center is the uberbrand for Microsoft's systems-management -- and now, thanks to a newly minted deal with EMC, network-management -- family of products.
Until a couple of years ago, Microsoft's systems-management line-up consisted of two main products: Systems Management Server and Microsoft Operations Manager. Now there's a whole pile of System Center offerings on the books, all of which are considered part of Microsoft's Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI) deliverables.
Microsoft's goal with System Center, similar to its strategy with a number of other Microsoft products, is to entice users to buy more members of the increasingly tightly integrated family.
"Going forward, there will be greater alignment of our System Center pieces into integrated scenarios," Orecklin said.
Microsoft plans to continue to try to provide new major releases of the individual family members about every two years, he added.
At the Microsoft Management Summit this week in San Diego, the Softies provided an update to their System Center roadmap. Because the product names are so corporate (read, dull and nondescriptive), it's hard to keep track of which product does what. Here's my best attempt at a list of what's coming when:
* Systems Management Server Service Pack 3 for SMS 2003: Spring release-to-manufacturing planned, which is slightly behind the stated schedule.
* System Center Operations Manager 2007: This is the product formerly known as Microsoft Operations Manager, and the core of Microsoft's system-management suite. The 2007 version was recently released to manufacturing. Availability is slated for April 1.
* System Center Operations Manager 2008: The next version of Microsoft's core System Centeroffering that will include network-management technology from EMC. Due sometime next year, according to Larry Orecklin, general manager of Microsoft's System Center division.
* System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2007: This is the reanamed Microsoft Systems Management Server product. (Some still refer to the product as SMS Version 4.) The newest version is due to ship this summer, according to the Softies, and will include new features aimed at helping customers manage Windows Vista clients.
* SCCM 2007 Service Pack 1: Will add support for Longhorn Server, along with various bug fixes, according to information posted on Steven Bink's Web site. No due date available.
* SCCM 2007 R2: Will add multicasting support for Longhorn Server and enterprise-scale application virtualization (i.e., SoftGrid) support, according to Bink. No due date available.
* System Center Virtual Machine Manager (code-named "Carmine"): Beta 2 is coming in April, according to Microsoft's Orecklin. Final version is due out this summer. Microsoft's "Viridian" hypervisor layer is not slated to ship until after Longhorn Server, however, which is expected later this year.
* System Center Data Protection Manager 2007: Bink says Microsoft is promising Beta 2 in April, a Release Candidate this summer and general availability in the fall.
* System Center Service Manager 2007 (the product formerly known as Service Desk): Public Beta 1 due in April. No updated word on when the final release is expected.
Wonder when we'll see something called System Center Live (whatever that will be) added to this list?