Microsoft seemingly has released to manufacturing its systems-management suite of products, known as System Center 2012, and is making them available for download by its volume-license customers as of this past weekend.
Microsoft made available a release candidate of the handful of System Center 2012 products it is integrating into a single deliverable back in late January 2012. Company officials have declined to say since then when the family would be released to manufacturing. I've asked company officials when System Center 2012 RTM'd and when non-volume licensees can get access to the products. No word back so far.
Update: Microsoft officials are confirming System Center 2012 is available to volume license users, as of April 1. They are declining to provide dates as to availability of the product to other customer groups, saying that they will have more to say on that front in mid-April at the Microsoft Management Summit. I'm not sure exactly when the suite RTM'd, and it seems Microsoft also is not commenting on that.
Update 2 (April 4): MSDN and TechNet subscribers are reporting they can download the final System Center 2012 products today.
Microsoft officials are positioning System Center as a key component of its private cloud strategy. (System Center’s public-cloud counterpart is Windows Intune.)
Among the System Center products making up the 2012 family are System Center Configuration Manager 2012, which is going to enable Microsoft to better manage iPads and other non-Microsoft devices; System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 ; and a hybrid on-premises/cloud management portal known as Microsoft System Center App Controller 2012 (codenamed Concero).
Microsoft execs have said there will be two System Center 2012 SKUs: Standard and Datacenter. Each includes the same bunch of eight point products, but with only two “operating system environments” (OSEs) supported for Standard, and an unlimited number supported for Datacenter. (OSEs can be physical and/or virtual machines, as explained by Tech Republic last year.)
Microsoft is playing up the “single bundle” concept as a way to simplify its private/public cloud message. At the highest level, Microsoft is emphasizing that System Center 2012 will allow customers to manage private and/or public clouds. The hope in Redmond is that by getting customers more comfortable with cloud-computing concepts — like self-service, elasticity, automation, etc. — that they’ll be more amenable to moving to the public cloud (at some point).
Microsoft officials are scheduled to share more particulars about System Center 2012 at the Microsoft Management Summit in mid-April in Las Vegas.