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This week Microsoft announced that it made its System Center
2012 Release Candidate available to better help its customers and partners
build out private cloud infrastructure and provide a single pane of glass
management for hybrid clouds.

According to Satya Nadella, president of Microsoft’s Server
and Tools Business, Microsoft is taking the covers off of this release
candidate will be a major step forward in providing the tools for the next wave
of private cloud building for Microsoft customers. System Center 2012 refocuses
Microsoft’s infrastructure portfolio around the current application-centric
goals of most IT departments, according to Microsoft.

"If you think about the infrastructure business, really
it’s driven by applications. We’re going though this massive sea change in
terms of the applications that our customers are building," he said, speaking
during a briefing for press and analysts. "It’s a big shift from
client/server to this world of continuous services and connected devices. So
that requires a new kind of infrastructure on the back end to be able to run
those types of services and applications."

Microsoft executives say that System Center was designed to
streamline the company’s cloud management portfolio, bringing together eight
different products under the management product’s portfolio: App Controller,
Operations Manager, Orchestrator, Service Manager, Virtual Machine Manager,
Data Protection Manager, Endpoint Protection, Configuration Manager, and Cloud
and Datacenter Management. The idea is to simplify customers’ acquisition of
the tools so they can get to work building the cloud.  

"It is super easy to acquire and what that enables
organizations to do is focus on the application," said Brad Anderson,
corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Management and Security Division,
explaining that the product only has two editions to ease purchasing headaches.

According to analysts with IDC, the market for systems
management software for clouds is expected to grow by 62 percent in 2012.
Microsoft hopes to tap into this growth and believes that the big
differentiator in System Center is its ability to span the management gap
between public and private clouds that could power the same application engine
or a single business process within an organization.

"The other key differentiator is that we designed it
from the ground up to enable the usage of hybrid clouds," Anderson said,
explaining that Systems Center can be used as a single stop to gain console
visibility into both public and private clouds, no matter what virtualization
platform they’re using or where they reside. "Our overall vision is to
cloud-optimize every business."