Designed for companies with up to 500 users, System Center Essentials (SCE) takes Microsoft’s enterprise management tools and makes them accessible to small to mid-size organisations via a single, easy to use, integrated console. It can be used to monitor Windows server availability and automatically identify and fix problems. It also enables network managers to collect hardware and software inventories (of both servers and PCs), centrally control the distribution of new applications and updates, plus remotely troubleshoot problems - all from the one interface.
All well and good, but the current version – System Center Essentials 2007 – was released long before virtualisation became popular. So now there’s a new release – System Center Essentials 2010 – incorporating the best bits from System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) to enable small companies to manage virtual as well as physical systems, side by side.
Due for launch later this year, SCE 2010 sports a revised console layout to both make it easier to use and accommodate the raft of new features. Not least of which is support for both Virtual Server and the latest Hyper-V implementation including live migration of virtual machines between Hyper-V hosts. The limit on the number of servers is also raised, from 30 up to 50, and the management packs needed to understand Microsoft applications, bundled with the product.
There are plenty of tweaks to the other tools too, as we’ve been finding out courtesy of the release candidate which put in an appearance at the start of the year.
Look out for a full review shortly.