Microsoft System Center 2012 came with plenty of new features when it was released in the spring of 2012, but it was missing some key features admins had hoped for, including support for the Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 releases later in the year.
That's where System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 came in. Even though Service Pack is in its name, don't be fooled: It can be a vital tool for admins.
We compiled everything you need to know about System Center 2012 SP1 in this quick and easy guide. We included news items detailing the road to its release, a Q&A with an expert about what admins can expect from it, and an evaluation of its beta version for admins seriously considering giving it a try.
Table of contents:
What are System Center 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1?
System Center 2012 is a suite of bundled systems management products and includes tools that automate and monitor virtualized environments. System Center products in the suite include Advisor, App Controller, Configuration Manager integrated with Endpoint Protection Manager, Data Protection Manager, Operations Manager, Virtual Machine Manager (VMM), Orchestrator and Service Manager.
After System Center 2012's release in the spring of 2012, admins looking to upgrade to Windows Server 2012 or Windows 8 were left in the dark because there was no support for either of them. With System Center 2012 SP1, admins would finally get the management support for these OSs as well as SQL Server 2012.
Common terms associated with System Center 2012 SP1
These are some of the most common terms you'll hear when discussing System Center 2012 SP1. Click on each link for the term's definition.
Support enhancements come as System Center 2012 SP1 is available
In January 2013, System Center 2012 SPI became available for download. It included improved support for a number of products, including System Center VMM, the Global Service Monitor for Windows Azure, Hyper-V capabilities, Windows Server 2012 and SQL Server 2012.
Shops can deploy Hyper-V 3.0, but only after release of System Center 2012 SP1
Although the release of Windows Server 2012 was in September 2012, admins learned they would have to wait until System Center 2012 SP1’s release in early 2013 to take advantage of Hyper-V 3.0 tools and features, including improved live migration and backup support in Windows Server 2012.
Support comes for Windows Server 2012, Windows 8, public clouds in Azure
In addition to support for Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 deployment, System Center 2012 SP1 would support public cloud capabilities in Windows Azure, helping admins who wanted to manage cloud computing features.
Does System Center 2012 SP1 live up to its expectation?
Our expert offered his evaluation of the System Center 2012 SP1 beta version. He encouraged organizations looking to adopt Windows Server 2012, Windows 8 or Windows RT devices to try the beta version, but organizations planning to stick with Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 should wait for the final release.
System Center 2012 SP1 hits RTM, but it comes with some unwelcome news
The System Center 2012 SP1 hit release to manufacturing (RTM) in December 2012, but admins were hit with news that could cause a headache: They would have to reinstall the RTM version, even if they had already installed and tested the beta version.
Q&A gives admins an idea of what to expect with System Center 2012 SP1
This Q&A with Don Retallack, research vice president for systems management at Directions on Microsoft, covers the most important System Center 2012 SP1 features IT shops should be on the lookout for, including the addition of Windows Azure Online Backup Service.