Late December, Microsoft released System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 on TechNet and MSDN and is available to download if you have access to either site. It will be generally available over the next couple of weeks.
So what’s the big deal? Well. we now get management support for Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8. Without this service pack, there’s no management support for those operating systems in System Center 2012 which was rather frustrating considering we have had Windows 8 and Server 2012 available to us for some time now.
We also have the ability to manage mobile devices with SP1 . The list of devices that can be managed with the service pack in place includes Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, Windows Phone 8 smartphones, Windows To Go memory sticks, Windows Embedded Standard 8 devices and Mac OS X client devices.
I am sure we will see other announcements with regards to MDM (Mobile Device Management) over the fore coming weeks. One exciting feature Microsoft has hinted at is some licensing changes to come associated with Windows Intune, the cloud based Management Platform. We are hoping that Windows Intune users will gain the rights to use System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. Windows Intune is set for an “early 2013” update.
Some other noticeable improvements are expected with SP1 including:
- PowerShell’s automation capabilities in System Center Configuration Manager 2012 will be able to be tapped.
- The ability to move virtual machines from on-premises environments to Windows Azure will be enabled in System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager.
- System Center 2012 Data Protection Manager will support the Windows Azure Online Backup Service.
Finally, SP1 is an important product release due to the fact that many of Microsoft’s partner-built applications are waiting on it. An example of this is the management products built by hardware partners on Windows Server 2012, such as HP and Dell, depend on the release of SP1.