Microsoft System Center 2012

Microsoft will soon be releasing System Center 2012, currently in beta (Release Candidate).  With the components included in SCCM 2012, Microsoft is providing comprehensive management from the desktop and devices to the datacenter and the private and public cloud. There’s integration among the components, not just technically but also through a new licensing scheme.   System Center 2012 allows the creation of Microsoft private clouds.

System Center 2012 Components

App Controller

App Controller helps IT administrators manage private and public clouds, including cloud-based virtual machines and services.

Configuration Manager

Allows IT administrators to deploy applications, operating systems and software updates, as well as to monitor compliance settings on computers and remediate them.  Configuration Manager gathers hardware and software inventory from computers and has multivendor platform support for devices that use Exchange Active technology.  It can stream virtualized applications to computers.  IT admins can deliver applications to systems on the corporate network or remotely through the cloud.

Data Protection Manager

DPM is a backup and recovery solution that has built-in intelligence to backup files and folders, Exchange server, SQL Server, Virtual Machine Manager, SharePoint, Hyper-V and client systems.

Endpoint Protection

This component provides antimalware and security protection for Microsoft systems and services.

Operations Manager

SCOM provides IT admins critical insight to the state of the IT infrastructure.  It includes support for multiplatform network-device monitoring, as part of its cloud-based orientation.


Orchestrator is a workflow management solution.  It automates the creation, monitoring and deployment of resources in the datacenter.

Service Manager

Automates an organization’s  IT service management using best practices and provides processes for change control, incident and problem resolution, and asset management.

Virtual Machine Manager

VMM uses shared physical resources and abstracting hardware to create a flexible platform for applications and services.  By helping manage “Fabric” resources, IT admins can build private clouds with many benefits such as Self-service and Resource pooling.

System Center 2012 Licensing

Managed Servers

There are two editions of System Center 2012: Standard and Datacenter.  Both editions include the same components, which is all the components described above.  It is not possible to purchase the components separately.

In the Datacenter edition, each license covers up to two physical processors.  As long as you have purchased sufficient Management Licenses (MLs) for a server, you can manage any number of Operating System Environments (OSEs) on that server.  An OSE could be physical or virtual.

In the Standard edition, you’ll have to count for each managed server the number of physical processors and the number of managed OSEs.  You would need to purchase licenses to cover for the greater number.  For the processor count, each license covers up to two physical processors; for the managed OSE count, each license covers up to two OSEs.  There’s an exception to this rule if the physical OSE on your server is used solely to run hardware virtualization software.  Check the licensing documentation if this is your case.

To understand the licensing difference between the two editions, it is necessary to understand the following two key points:

  1. License is required only for endpoints being managed.  No additional licenses are needed for management servers of SQL Server.
  2. It is a processor-based license for server management.  It is a User or OSE-based license for client management.  Note that you can’t split Server MLs across multiple servers (a single Server ML can’t be used to license two one-processor servers).

The following charts are provided by Microsoft (not that they are subject to change):

Microsoft System Center 2012

In the Datacenter edition, the number of Server MLs is determined by the number of physical processors in the server.  In the Standard edition, the number of MLs is determined by the number of physical processors in the server or the number of OSEs being managed, whichever is greater.  Server MLs are required for managed devices that run server OSEs.

Examples from Microsoft

Microsoft System Center 2012

Managed Clients

Client MLs are needed for managed devices not running server OSEs.  Components included in the Client MLs are not available separately.  These are the three Client MLs license types:

Microsoft System Center 2012



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