System Center Advisor is now a FREE service

System Center Advisor is a service that has been around since early 2012. When released it was free for customer with Software Assurance but yesterday Microsoft announced that wit is now free for everyone.

What is System Center Advisor – It’s a cloud service that helps you track changes and configurations for Microsoft server software. The infrastructure is build on System Center Operations Manager agent and management packs but not that it is not a real time monitoring solution.

Advisor supports analysis of the following workloads:

  • Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2:
    • Active Directory
    • Hyper-V Host
    • General operating system
  • SQL Server 2008 and later
    • SQL Engine
  • Microsoft SharePoint 2010 and later
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 and later
  • Microsoft Lync Server 2010

If you read the Microsoft announcement on the System Center engineering blog it looks like we will see some more announcements at MMS 2013

Update Rollup 1 for System Center 2012 SP1 is now available

This might feel strange, wasn’t SP1 just released? Yes it was but the patches has a fixed release schedule so UR1 was already planed. UR1 include updates for:

App Controller (KB2790935)

  • Issue 1 – Copying a .vhd file between Windows Azure storage accounts may be unsuccessful, and you receive a "Retrieved data is complete" warning message. This issue occurs if the .vhd file already exists on the destination or if the .vhd file is mapped to an existing virtual machine.
  • Issue 2 – The import of Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) library server certificates may be unsuccessful for VMM library servers that are clustered.

Data Protection Manager (KB2791508)

  • Issue 1 – Client backups fail when there is a case difference between the client computer name on the computer and the client computer name that is stored in Active Directory.

Operations Manager (KB2784734)

  • Issue 1 -  Agentless Exception Monitoring (AEM) in Operations Manager may provoke an increase in reporting threads and choke points.
  • Issue 2 – After the Alert Attachment Management Pack (Microsoft.SystemCenter.AlertAttachment.mpb) is imported, you create a dashboard that contains an alert widget. When you click an alert, the Operations Manager console may crash.
  • Issue 3 – When a Windows PowerShell module uses the Monitoringhost.exe process on an x86-based client that is running Windows 8, more than 800 megabytes (MB) of memory may be consumed.
  • Issue 4 – After an application domain is created, adding another application domain may be unsuccessful.

Operations Manager – UNIX and Linux Monitoring (Management Pack Update)

  • Issue 1 – When multiple process monitors are used to target the same computer or group, processes may incorrectly monitor some template instances. Additionally, problems with the monitored processes may not be detected. This issue occurs when each process monitor uses the same name as the process even though different argument filters are used in each process monitor.
  • Note After the updated Microsoft.Unix.Process.Library.mpb file is imported, all existing Process Template instances must be edited and saved for the fixed behavior to take effect.

Service Provider Foundation (KB2785476)

  • Issue 1 -´The OperatingSystemId property on a virtual hard disk (VHD) object is always set to NULL.
  • Issue 2 – Virtual machine usage metrics are not aggregated at hourly intervals and are missing basic usage metrics such as network sent and receive I/O operations per second (IOPS).

Virtual Machine Manager (KB2792925 – Console; KB2792926 – VMM Server)

  • Issue 1 – When a logical unit number (LUN) is unmasked on an iSCSI array, the VMM service may crash.
  • Issue 2 – When a node is put in maintenance mode, virtual machines in the cluster change to a status of "Unsupported Cluster Configuration."
  • Issue 3 – When an add-in that uses multiple DLL files is imported into the VMM console, the add-in is not imported. Additionally, you receive the following error message:
  • Add-in cannot be installed
  • Issue 4   When an add-in is imported into the VMM console on a server that is running Windows Server 2008 R2, the add-in is not imported.
  • Issue 5 – When an add-in is imported into the VMM console, the console may crash.


Please note that UR are now available to be installed through WSUS/SCCM (has been since UR3 for SC2012 RTM). To be able to install the SP1 versions of UR you need to add the new products since they been added as new product selections (see below).


System Center 2012 SP1 is now generally available

Today Microsoft publically made the System Center 2012 SP1 general available. The actual bits has been available for a some time depending if you have a MSDN/TechNet account or a Volume License agreement but today it is available for every one.

There is two important things to understand about this Service Pack that we haven’t seen before:

  • The SP1 is for all of the eight System Center components (that used to be different products)
  • There is no actual service pack to download – The service pack is integrated in the installation media. So, to update your components you have to download the new installation media from your volume license portal and run the setup. If the installer finds an existing installation it will update it with SP1. So when you upgrade, make sure to use a valid media for your customer and not MSDN/TechNet media.

Read the SP 1 announcement from Microsoft

Read about all the new functions and features added in SP1 for the different components

If you want to evaluate System Center 2012 with SP1 and Windows Server 2012 you have evaluation versions to download . Use links below to download:


System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 Configuration Manager – Evaluation (VHD)

System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 – App Controller – Evaluation (VHD)

System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 – Service Manager (Data Warehouse) – Evaluation (VHD)

System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 – Orchestrator – Evaluation (VHD)

System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 – Service Manager – Evaluation (VHD)

System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 – Data Protection Manager – Evaluation (VHD)

System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 – Operations Manager – Evaluation (VHD)

Thinner and bigger from Dell next year

Today I was looking at the Dell World 2012 Online. During the the session “Evolving the commercial Endpoint: Merging Design with Security, Manageability and Reliability in Your Business with Jeff Clarke” I saw two new types of machines that will be available next year – looks pretty cool:


In picture one you see a new style of the Latitude series


In picture two you see an 18 inch “All-in-One” that also can be a tablet 

Dell Client Configuration Toolkit (CCTK) now supports Windows 8

If you need to do any type of Bios configuration on you Dell business client (Dell OptiPlex™ desktops, Dell Latitude™ laptops, and Dell Precision™ workstations), CCTK is the tool for you. Today Dell released an updated version (2.1.1) that adds:

  • Support for new platforms
  • Support for the following new BIOS options
    • Signed Firmware Update
    • Fan Speed
    • Stealth Mode
    • Fan Control Override
    • Multi display
    • Chassis intrusion status – Support for Door Open, Door close, Tripped & Trip reset
    • Autoon – Argument ‘selectdays’ added for selecting the days.
    • PCI Bus CountOwner Password
    • System Defaults
    • Primary battery management configuration
    • Battery slice management configuration
    • Module bay battery management configurationhdd1fanenable
    • hdd2fanenable
    • hdd3fanenable
    • unobtrusivemode
    • intlrapidstart
    • intlsmartconnect
    • legacyorom
    • oromuiprotection
    • tpmppiacpi
    • tpmppidpo
    • tpmppipo
    • unobtrusivemode
  • Support for the following new options in SCE (Self Contained Executable)
        – log
        – nolog
        – extraction
  •   Support for Windows 8
  •   Support for WinPE 4

Except for these new features, it also fixes some bugs that were discovered in earlier versions


Read more and download it from Dell  –

Windows Server 2012 Management packs is now released

Yesterday Microsoft released management packs for Windows Server 2012. Now to the big problem, the only supported version to run on Windows Server 2012 is SCOM2012 SP1 and this service pack in still in beta. The SCOM2012 RTM agent can be installed on Windows 2012 and monitor the server(Except from APM monitoring of applications hosted on IIS8 which requires SP1). Unfortunately Microsoft has decided to not update SCOM 2007 R2 to support monitor Windows Server 2012.

More information on the Windows server 2012 support statement from the System Center team

Download System Center 2012 Monitoring Pack for Microsoft Windows Server 2012 AD RMS

Download System Center 2012 Monitoring Pack for Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Internet Information Service 8

Download System Center 2012 Monitoring Pack for Microsoft Windows Server AD CS 2012

Download System Center Monitoring Pack for Windows Server Operating System

SCCM 2012 SP1+Intune=True

Today Microsoft announced that System Center Configurations Manager 2012 SP1 will include interoperability with Windows Intune vNext.

Expect the interoperability of Windows Intune and System Center Configuration Manager Console, Windows Intune will add support for Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT devices (current Intune version support Windows Phone 7, IPhone and Android)

I’m glad to see that these two products starts to grow together and I hope to see even more integration in the feature.


Read the whole announced from Microsoft

System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 Beta available today

Today Microsoft made the whole System Center SP1 beta version available for everyone to download and test. Please note that this is only for test and not supported for production.

One of the biggest update is the support for Windows 2012 and Windows 8. Except for this, every product/feature includes a long list of updated function and features as shown below:

  • Virtual Machine Manager
    • Improved Support for Network Virtualization
    • Extend the VMM console with Add-ins
    • Support for Windows Standards-Based Storage Management Service, thin provisioning of logical units and discovery of SAS storage
    • Ability to convert VHD to VHDX, use VHDX as base Operating System image
  • Configuration Manager
    • Deployment and management of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
    • Distribution point for Windows Azure to help reduce infrastructure costs
    • Automation of administrative tasks through PowerShell support
    • Management of Mac OS X clients and Linux and UNIX servers
    • Real-time administrative actions for Endpoint Protection related tasks
  • Data Protection Manager
    • Improved backup performance of Hyper-V over CSV 2.0
    • Protection for Hyper-V over remote SMB share
    • Protection for Windows Server 2012 de-duplicated volumes
    • Uninterrupted protection for VM live migration
  • App Controller
    • Service Provider Foundation API to create and operate Virtual Machines
    • Support for Azure VM; migrate VHDs from VMM to Windows Azure, manage from on-premise System Center
  • Operations Manager
    • Support for IIS 8
    • Monitoring of WCF, MVC and .NET NT services
    • Azure SDK support
  • Orchestrator
    • Support for Integration Packs, including 3rd party
    • Manage VMM self-service User Roles
    • Manage multiple VMM ‘stamps’ (scale units), aggregate results from multiple stamps
    • Integration with App Controller to consume Hosted clouds
  • Service Manager
    • Apply price sheets to VMM clouds
    • Create chargeback reports
    • Pivot by cost center, VMM clouds, Pricesheets
  • Server App-V
    • Support for applications that create scheduled tasks during packaging
    • Create virtual application packages from applications installed remotely on native server

Download System Center 2012 beta from Microsoft