Microsoft debuts System Center 2022

Shame it's not finished – Microsoft has promised more hybrid cloud capabilities are coming real soon now


Microsoft has quietly slipped System Center 2022 out the door, more than six months after the debut of Windows Server 2022 – but also flagged the product is not in its final state.

System Center is Microsoft's tool for deploying and managing software-defined datacenters and has long been a near-essential companion for those deploying Windows Server at scale. Microsoft these days spends a lot more time talking about Arc, its cloud-hosted management suite, but System Center still has a loyal following.

The new version includes updates to System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), Virtual Machine Manager (VMM), System Center Orchestrator (SCORCH), Service Manager (SM), and Data Protection Manager (DPM), but has a modest list of new features.

Teams integration for SCOM is said to be of use to DevOps types who want to drive Windows infrastructure as code. VMM gets improved software-defined networking, including the ability to handle IPv6 addresses alongside IPv4 addresses. The virtual server wrangler is also now happy with guests running Windows 11 or Windows Server 2022 – an utterly unsurprising enhancement.

The update means System Center has gained the ability to manage Microsoft's own Azure Stack HCI 21H2, or VMware 7.0 hosts – but given that version of Virtzilla's flagship was released way back in April 2020 that's a catchup, not a trendsetter. It is, however, better than Arc, which last week gained the ability to manage vSphere 6.7 - a release that exits support in October 2022.

Microsoft reckons the new System Center has added support for "the latest Linux distros" and lists RHEL Server 8 and CentOS 7 – both of which emerged in 2020.

Welcome to 2020, System Center 2022!

If the above sounds underwhelming, remember that Microsoft's focus is on driving users to its clouds – both because the company thinks that delivers a better experience and because it wants to convert your hardware budget into cloud consumption spend. Also it wants to win more of your software budget.

Microsoft recognizes that there are many good reasons to retain on-prem capability, but wants it to work well with its cloud. Hence the news, at the end of the post announcing the new release, that "We will be bringing hybrid capabilities with System Center 2022 to standardize management and governance across on-premises and cloud environments while reusing your existing investments in System Center."

But Microsoft hasn't said when those capabilities will land – which is odd, because they're arguably more significant enhancements than those Microsoft has chosen to list in its announcement of System Center 2022.

Microsoft's post ends with "Stay tuned for more on these exciting capabilities!" What other choice do those committed to System Center have? ®


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