System Center 2012 Operations Manager: An Upgrade Worth Getting Now

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If you've worked with the System Center tools in the past, it's time to throw out everything you thought you knew.  With the latest release of the System Center lineup, Microsoft has changed the rules and aims to make System Center the management platform that supports today's critical business workloads.

System Center 2012 Operations Manager (SCOM) is a core component in Microsoft's newly integrated product suite. Prior to the release of the 2012 wave of System Center products, each System Center component was sold separately. Today, you get everything plus the kitchen sink when you buy System Center.

For organizations that have relied on SCOM's monitoring prowess for years, you will find plenty to love in SCOM 2012, especially if you've been longing to integrate your network and systems monitoring into a single tool, or if you have been looking for ways to bring Linux servers into your SCOM monitoring clutches.

System Center 2012 brings to this powerful monitoring framework comprehensive network monitoring support, right down to the port level.  With SCOM 2012, you can gain invaluable uptime/downtime insight on every network device in your organization while, with the same product and with the same console, you ensure that your Exchange 2013 environment remains in pique operating condition.

Better yet, for those of you that have given up on trying to keep Linux servers off your network, you can now succumb to the open source movement without compromise!  SCOM 2012 provides comprehensive support for a number of popular Linux variants, making these servers first class citizens in the monitoring environment.

Under the hood, SCOM 2012 also sheds some legacy cruft that plagued earlier versions of the product and created difficulties when it came to deploying SCOM in a way that was enterprise-worthy.  Gone is the concept of a singular Room Management Server.  Replaced with simple management servers that now operate as equals, this single change makes creating a highly available SCOM environment a breeze and removes what was a serious single point of failure opportunity.  While this may not sound that significant, it is, in fact, a major architectural change that vastly simplifies the product.

For those of you who are brand new to SCOM, you will probably start out a bit intimidated by the product, especially if you're not careful in how you handle it.  However, with the right guidance, a little patience and a little lab time, you'll find that mastering SCOM 2012 isn't really all that difficult, and you'll probably find limitless potential in what you can do with the product.  As a framework, SCOM relies on administrators to install freely available (and commercial) add-ins that extend SCOM's functionality in new ways.  In fact, with SCOM and a third-party software package from Veeam, you can actually monitor your entire vSphere environment right from the SCOM console.

All told, SCOM 2012 is a very worthy upgrade from what was already an outstanding product.

Related: Learn how to deploy Audit Collection Services in this free video from our System Center 2012 Operations Manager Training with IT consultant and author Scott D. Lowe. If you're interested in learning more about SCOM 2012, see TrainSignal's newly released course or check out our entire collection of System Center training products.

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Scott Lowe

Scott Lowe is the Founder and Managing Consultant of THE 1610 Group. By night (and sometimes weekends, lunch, and everything in between!) Scott writes technical articles for CNet's TechRepublic, TechTarget and TechGenix and creates training courses for TrainSignal. He is also the author of O'Reilly's Home Networking: The Missing Manual and a coauthor of Microsoft Press’ Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Administrator's Companion.