Saturday, March 26, 2011

MS Offers Tools To Build and Manage Private Clouds

A new beta of System Center 2012 from Microsoft offers tools to build private cloud services. Microsoft also introduced Windows Intune to manage PCs. The new System Center uses Concero to let department-level managers handle applications while keeping IT in control. An analyst called System Center a "great tool" for Microsoft shops.

At the Management Summit in Las Vegas this week, Microsoft Relevant Products/Services introduced beta 2 of its System Center 2012, offering tools for IT Relevant Products/Services managers to deliver private cloud services, and Windows Intune, providing PC management through the cloud. Intune is generally available in 35 countries, and System Center, available now as a beta, is expected to be released later this year.

Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson said "virtualization Relevant Products/Services and server consolidation are important steps toward cloud computing," but management tools such as those provided by the newest System Center must offer intelligence about apps' performance, in addition to "management of virtual Relevant Products/Services machine black boxes." He added that Intune "is the perfect example of how customers and partners of all sizes can take advantage of cloud computing for easy-to-use PC management and security Relevant Products/Services."

Concero for Department-Level Managers

With the newest System Center, IT managers can build private clouds using their current infrastructure Relevant Products/Services as well as other vendors' platforms and virtualization technologies. In his keynote address at the summit, Anderson demonstrated System Center 2012's capability, code-named Concero, to allow department-level managers to deploy and manage their applications on private and public clouds.

System Center 2012 is designed to enhance the existing Microsoft Hyper-V cloud programs for private cloud computing, as well as provide employees with applications running on a wider range of devices.

Microsoft said a recent study it commissioned from IDC showed that Intune could result in a total savings of $702 per PC per year, including IT labor reduction, user productivity Relevant Products/Services savings, and cost recovery Relevant Products/Services from not having to use other tools. The study also said Intune represents an opportunity for Microsoft's partners to reach more customers and start or expand managed-services businesses.

IDC said partners can support more customers using the Intune cloud-based system Relevant Products/Services than with on-site management -- without additional staff.

'A Clear Signal To Customers'

Laura DiDio, an analyst with industry research firm Information Technology Intelligence Corp, said Microsoft's emphasis on private cloud management in System Center 2012 "is something we've been seeing a lot of vendors do." She noted that last year public clouds were the flavor, but IT departments "had a lot of questions about public clouds," not the least of which was security.

She said Security Center 2012 keeps the IT department in control while "maintaining an overarching view of application performance." From a strategic point of view, DiDio said, System Center 2012 will provide the tools needed to "standardize your infrastructure, which is the key to simplification, so you can get your machine spread under control."

For Microsoft shops, she said, System Center 2012 will be "a great tool to have," and it is "sending a clear signal to customers that Microsoft has a cloud strategy" for management.

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