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What are the most notable features in System Center 2016?

System Center 2016 can manage a mix of environments, but administrators should evaluate new features before upgrading from an older version.

Data centers are getting more complex with a mix of systems that now stretch into the cloud. Managing a diverse...

infrastructure with a varied arsenal of system-centric tools can be time-consuming and can lead to errors. Microsoft System Center 2016 is designed to integrate with Operations Management Suite to provide a unified management experience for today's heterogeneous data center.

Today's enterprises could run workloads on several platforms, such as Windows Server, Linux, VMware and OpenStack. These workloads can also land in public cloud platforms, such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services. System Center 2016 has key provisioning, automation, monitoring and configuration capabilities to help administrators keep the business running.

Provisioning features allow administrators to allocate, configure and manage the data center compute, network and storage infrastructure. For example, System Center 2016 will support logical switch provisioning; handle new Windows Server 2016 features, such as guarded fabric hosts and shielded VMs; offer unified workflows for host and storage cluster creation; patch host systems during bare-metal provisioning; manage storage replication to the cloud with Microsoft Azure Site Recovery; and make use of Storage Spaces Direct.

System Center 2016 has key provisioning, automation, monitoring and configuration capabilities to help administrators keep the business running.

Systems management is increasingly reliant on automation to speed up complex tasks with fewer errors and oversights. This allows greater autonomy for end users through enhanced self-service and can even bolster a company's IT compliance position. System Center 2016 supports Lync 2013, Skype for Business and SQL Server 2014 SP1, while improving management and reporting features such as PowerShell Desired State Configuration. A new Web portal supports self-service management, and additional run books have been added to handle migration to Azure.

Monitoring has emerged as another core element of proactive systems management. Administrators can head off serious problems by evaluating the state of the hardware or software environment, assess performance and make proactive adjustments. System Center 2016 improves storage monitoring to support Storage Spaces Direct, provides storage quality-of-service management, integrates a new Windows Server Software-Defined Network Controller and can schedule regular system maintenance. There is also improved support for the traditional LAMP stack monitoring and accommodation for other components, such as MongoDB and PostgreSQL.

Systems administrators must often handle configuration management tasks such as setting up endpoint systems, patching software, implementing security policies, and monitor a proliferation of PC and mobile devices that have access to the corporate data center. System Center 2016 can deploy and support Microsoft Windows 10 and manage Windows 10 devices using on-premises mobile device management tools along with local and Azure Active Directory integration.

These are just a few of the noteworthy features slated for System Center 2016. It's important for potential adopters to download and evaluate the platform and verify the operational performance of any important features before upgrading or migrating from older System Center versions in production.

Next Steps

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This was last published in April 2016

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