Microsoft achieved general availability (GA) release milestone of Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 in October, 2013. It was released with Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1. This was the fourth major release of the System Center suite since 2007. The 2012 R2 release had some updates here and there in all the main software components in System Center. The flagship management suite was available in two versions: System Center 2012 R2 Datacenter, and System Center 2012 R2 Standard.

The System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) is perhaps the most changed, while others like System Center Service Manager (SCSM), Orchestrator and App Controller were least changed, mainly to add support for the then new Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1.

System Center 2012 R2 includes the following components:

  • App Controller
  • Configuration Manager
  • Data Protection Manager
  • Orchestrator
  • Operations Manager
  • Service Manager
  • Virtual Machine Manager

Following are 5 reasons you should consider deploying System Center 2012 R2:

1. Unified management for the Cloud OS: System Center 2012 R2 delivers unified management and agile system administration for the Cloud OS by offering consistent management experiences across your own data center (on-premises), cloud service providers, and Microsoft’s own Windows Azure cloud offering. This unique approach helps you understand the your datacenter transformation goals by delivering enterprise-class capabilities, reducing datacenter complexity, optimizing applications and workload through their life cycle, and enabling a hybrid cloud computing at its core.

2. Highly available backup and recovery service: The Data Protection Manager (DPM) component in Configuration Manager, which is used to back up your site database, supports the use of clustered SQL Server nodes in its database in System Center 2012 R2. This new feature resulted in providing higher reliability by mitigating the single point of failure when a standalone SQL server is used. It removes the standalone limitation that present earlier.

Now you can install the Data Protection Manager component on a virtual machine also and backup to storage using .vhd storage pool disks shared through the VMM library.

3. System Center Advisor integrated with Operations Manager: System Center Advisor is a Microsoft online service analyzes your uploaded configuration and performance data from Microsoft server software rendering to the best practices and popular problems. 

In case of a problem, System Center Advisor reverts in the form of alerts allowing you to quickly resolve disputes, proactive avoid misconfiguration, lastly lower downtime and hence increase your productivity. Before System Center 2012 R2, these alerts were only available for push notification in a weekly email dump from Microsoft. In the new version of Microsoft System Center, Advisor is provided as an attached service in Operations Manager, which communicates directly with the management server. This allows you to easily assess the significance and relevance of Advisor alerts in the overall context of the operations environment.

4. Cross-platform device management: Many companies today have users with company or personal owned mobile devices. Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 offers unified device management that allows companies to manage these devices and offer them application choice via a Company Portal. The new version allows you to combine Configuration Manager with Windows Intune to provide organizations easy access to company resources on their devices in a secure, managed way. Now, it is easy to manage mobile devices (iOS, Android, Windows) using a single management interface and a common reporting infrastructure while easily maintaining access levels.

5. Windows Azure Pack and cloud tools: The System Center 2012 R2 offers some new tools for duty in the private data center along with the familiar SCOM, SCVMM, and other System Center components. The tools include Windows Azure Pack (WAP), Service Bus Clouds, Service Management Automation (SMA), and Service Reporting. Critical to the service provider and hosting scenarios, these features hold high value. The System Center 2012 R2 will thus extend the CloudOS and represent a strategic asset for Microsoft.

Configuration Manager is a key component of the Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 suite. It provides key management capabilities around application delivery, desktop virtualization, device management, and security to maintain productivity while reducing costs. Effective use of the configuration manager requires skills and knowledge, which can be gained through the proper training courses. Start with QuickStart – here’s know why.

Make the Right Career Move With Training at Quickstart

QuickStart is an IT skill learning marketplace that empowers performance excellence and transform career growth by providing in-depth training on a variety of technical courses. QuickStart provides personalized learning experience to IT professionals through online courses, instructor lead training, high impact mentoring and hands-on lab experience.

If your job role involves designing and deploying one or more System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager sites and all supporting systems, then Microsoft 70-243 Administering and Deploying SCCM 2012 online course could be the right choice for you. This course intended for professionals with experience in System Center Configuration Manager 2012, Windows Server, security and networking.

This QuickStart System Center Configuration Manager 2012 course will help students prepare for Exam 70-243 – MCTS: Administering and Deploying System Center 2012 Configuration Manager.

QuickStart also provides a significant discount to the course staff for the upgraded version of the new course. You can get up to 90% discount, based on the amount of time that has elapsed since completion of the Azure course.