Microsoft has released to manufacturing System Center 2012 Service Pack (SP) 1, according to a post in the TechNet forums by a Microsoft support engineer.
According to the post, general availability of System Center 2012 SP1 will be early January 2013. (To date, Microsoft officials have said only that SP1 would be out in "early 2013.)
Microsoft is confirming the RTM of SP1. Here's the statement from a spokesman:
"We can confirm that System Center 2012 SP1 has been released to manufacturing today. We’re working towards making it generally available to customers as soon as possible and will have more to share in January."
Microsoft rolled out the final version of System Center 2012 earlier this spring.
SP1, as far as service packs go, is a pretty big deal. It adds support to System Center 2012 for Windows Server 2012; integrates with Windows Azure Virtual Machines; and, via the REST OData programming interface, integrates with hosted-service-provider clouds.
SP1 is also a key element of Microsoft's plan for managing Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 devices.
The next version of Windows Intune, Microsoft's PC management and security service, coupled with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack (SP) 1, will be the way administrators will be able to manage Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 devices both, Microsoft officials have said. Administrators will ahve the option to use the SP1 capabilities of Configuration Manager's console to set mobile security policies, distribute mobile apps and view reports.
The currently available Windows Intune release does not support Windows 8 or Windows RT. But Microsoft officials have said the next Intune release would be out by early 2013 and will support these devices. (Rumor has it there will be no public beta test of the new Intune.)
Another tidbit from the TechNet forum post: There supposedly is no upgrade path from the beta of SP1 to the RTM of SP1, so users are required to reinstall Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2012 RTM and then upgrade to System Center 2012 SP1 RTM.
(Thanks to @geddyleefan for tweeting a link to the RTM post in the Microsoft forums.)