Microsoft today announced the availability of System Center 2019, the next version to be part of the Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) following the release of System Center 2016. The release includes a long list of changes, mostly focusing on improvements the monitoring and management tools for data centers, better support for the newer version of Windows Server, and hybrid management capabilities with Azure.
For hybrid management, Microsoft has integrated System Center with management capabilities from Azure:
- With Service Map integration with System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), you can automatically create distributed application diagrams in Operations Manager (OM) that are based on the dynamic dependency maps in Service Map.
- With Azure Management Pack, you can now view perf and alert metrics in SCOM, integrate with web application monitoring in Application Insights, and monitor more PaaS services, such as Azure Blob Storage, Azure Data Factory, etc.
- Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2019 enables simplified patching of VMs by integrating with Azure Update Management.
Microsoft also made improvements to security, including support for service logon while ditching the requirement for interactive logon. Additional, VMM 2019 now has a new privilege level, VM Administrator, which lets users take a look at the fabric of the data center while preventing privilege escalation that would allow fabric administration.
The software defined data center also got some improvements, specifically related to the Hyper Converged Infrastructure:
- With VMM 2019, you can manage and monitor HCI deployment more efficiently – from upgrading or patching Storage Spaces Direct clusters without downtime to monitoring the health of disks.
- VMM 2019 storage optimization enables you to optimize placement of VHDs across cluster shared volumes and prevents VM outages caused when the storage runs full.
The System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) has received a handful of enhancements to modernize the experience too. This includes support for HTML email notifications, improved Linux monitoring, and more. Support for Windows Server 2019 roles and features has also been added:
- With HTML5 dashboards and drill down experiences in the SCOM web console, you will now be able to use a simplified layout and extend the monitoring console using custom widget and SCOM REST API.
- Taking modernization a step further, email notifications in SCOM have been modernized as well with support for HTML-email in SCOM 2019.
- SCOM 2019 brings a new alerts experience for monitor-based alerts whereby alerts have to be attended to and cannot be simply closed by operators when the respective underlying monitors are in unhealthy state.
- SCOM has enhanced your Linux monitoring by leveraging Fluentd; and now is resilient to management server failovers in your Linux environments.
- All the SCOM management packs will now support Windows Server 2019 roles and features.
System Center 2019 also includes Data Protection Manager 2019, which makes backups up to 75% faster, while also making them smaller. DPM 2019 also improves support for backing up VMware VMs to tape, and you can also backup workloads such as SharePoint and Exchange 2019.
Lastly, System Center 2019 ships with Orchestrator 2019, which supports PowerShell 4.0 and above, which allows users to run 64-bit cmdlets. There's also Service Manager 2019, which has an improved Active Directory (AD) connector that can be synchronized with a specific domain controller.
In addition to announcing the release of System Center 2019, Microsoft also revealed changes to its release cadence for System Center. The Semi-Annual Channel, which kicked off just over a year ago, is set to be discontinued based on feedback from customers. The company will return to focusing on its Long Term Servicing Channel, which will receive semi-annual update rollups with new features.