System Center 2012 RC–And the verdict is

If you didn’t like System Center 2010, you won’t like System Center 2012 – simple as that.

The System Center suite of products seems to be designed for large organizations with very large data centers and very large numbers of users. Large enough to justify the steep hardware, license, and manpower requirements to run SC2012. (I should point out that this is nothing new – several people have told me that System Center requires a team to manage it)

System Center 2012 is indeed very powerful and flexible, but that comes at a cost – it is also very complex. While each component has a similar-looking “user friendly” interface, a quick browse through the documentation sets any illusions of simplicity aside.

 

Lets take System Center Service Manager as an example. This component provides helpdesk functionality, as well as the ability to automate / document / standardize IS processes. It sounds like exactly what we need. Now have a look at the documentation:

Service Manager

Here are the major sections of this massive document collection

  • Planning Guide
  • Deployment Guide
  • Administrator’s Guide
  • Operations Guide
  • Authoring Guide
  • Disaster Recovery Guide

So I just installed the thing and I want to get started. Where do I go? As far as I can tell, there is no “Getting Started.” The documentation is broken up so that the Installation team has a set of docs, the administrators have a set of docs, the Operators have a set of docs, etc, etc. This is not bad per se – it is just bad if you don’t have a lot of time, and you don’t have multiple teams (much less even one team) to manage the thing.

System Center 2012 RC–Install experience continued

Yesterday I began the process of evaluation System Center 2012 RC and gave up. Today I decided I was going to try anyway.
As I mentioned before, you need a grand total of 8 machines. I created 8 nearly identical domain joined VMs (in Vmware ESXi of course) – each with 2 CPUs and 4 gigs of ram (thank goodness for Vmware’s memory sharing) and a minimum of 40gigs of disk.
Note: if you attempt to install any of this on an existing server, or an OS instance with stuff on it already it will most certainly fail.

 

Server Preparation – All Servers

Each server is Windows Server 2008 R2 with all the latest updates, IE9; I installed .NET Framework 3.5.1, and .NET Framework 4.0. I generally disable IPv6.
Even though it is not the most secure thing in the world, you might as well just disable the firewall on all of them as well. The documentation is missing the required firewall settings for the target servers (not disabling said firewalls will cause the Unified Installer to be unable to connect)

 

Here are the eight lovely virtual machines all running at once. You will need some serious hardware for this to approach usable – our VM server has two quad core 3ghz Xeons and 32-gigs of ram – so it manages…

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