Main Beta page is here: http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/en/us/om-vnext-beta.aspx
Downloads are here: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=26804
It's a bit strange that a public beta has just been released, especially since the CEP hasn't yet started, but I won't complain too much as that now completes my System Center 2012 test lab :)
Main new areas in the 2012 beta (taken from the TechNet Beta docs):
Operations Manager 2012 has a new Setup wizard. For important instructions about how to install Operations Manager 2012, see Install Operations Manager 2012 Beta.
Operations Manager 2012 provides an upgrade wizard to help you upgrade your System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 environment to Operations Manager 2012. For more information, see Upgrading to Operations Manager 2012.
In Operations Manager 2012, all management servers are peers; there is no root management server. The workload is split among all management servers in a management group, which provides high availability without requiring a cluster.
A resource pool provides the ability to distribute workloads across multiple management servers, such as availability, network device monitoring, distributed monitor health rollup, and group calculation.
Operations Manager 2012 provides an easy method for configuring agents to report to multiple management servers by adding an Operations Manager Agent application to Control Panel on each agent-managed Windows-based computer.
You will notice some subtle changes to the Operations console. The Actions pane is now the Tasks pane, and includes a new section called Navigation Tasks that makes it easy for you to open views for a selected object. The Tasks pane offers two tabs: one for actions and one for resources and Help links. The Navigation and Tasks panes can be minimized or expanded instantly by clicking the arrow in the title bar of the pane.
Operations Manager 2012 introduces a new web console. In Operations Manager 2012, all Operations Manager views are available in the web console.
Operations Manager 2012 provides the ability to discover and monitor network routers and switches, including the network interfaces and ports on those devices and the virtual LAN (VLAN) that they participate in. You can also delete discovered network devices and prevent the deleted network devices from being rediscovered the next time discovery runs. For more information, see Monitor Network Devices.
In Operations Manager 2012, you can monitor ASP.NET applications and web services from server- and client-side perspectives to get details about application availability and performance that can help you pinpoint solutions. Allowing you to specify settings, the types of events to collect, the performance goals to measure, and which servers to monitor, Operations Manager 2012 application monitoring provides insight into how web-based applications are running. You can see how frequently a problem is occurring, how a server was performing when a problem occurred, and the chain of events related to the slow request or method that is unreliable. This is the information needed to partner with software developers and database administrators to help ensure that application availability and performance are at optimal levels. For more information, see Monitor an ASP.NET Application.
Operations Manager 2012 includes new comprehensive dashboard views that combine multiple panels of information into a single view. In Operations Manager 2012, you can add the new dashboard views to My Workspace and the Monitoring workspace.
The Operations Manager web part displays specified dashboard views and can be added to Microsoft SharePoint 2010 sites. For more information, see Add a Dashboard View to a SharePoint Site.
Dashboard views have been significantly upgraded in Operations Manager 2012 from their capabilities in Operations Manager 2007 R2, including custom layouts and nested dashboard views. For more information, see Create a Dashboard View.
Operations Manager 2012 provides a Windows PowerShell 2.0 module containing a full set of new cmdlets. The cmdlets in this module are only compatible with Operations Manager 2012. You can recognize the Operations Manager 2012 cmdlets by the "SC" preceding the noun. For additional information about the Operations Manager 2012 cmdlets, open the Operations Manager command shell and type Get-Help about_OpsMgr_WhatsNew. For information about how the Operations Manager 2007 cmdlets map to the Operations Manager 2012 cmdlets, type Get-Help about_OpsMgr_Cmdlet_Names.
To use the Operations Manager 2012 cmdlets, you must establish a connection to an Operations Manager management group. You can establish either a persistent connection in which you can run multiple cmdlets, or a temporary connection when running a single cmdlet. For more information about connections, open the Operations Manager Shell and type Get-Help about_OpsMgr_Connections.
In Operations Manager 2012, you can perform privileged operations on UNIX-based and Linux-based computers using unprivileged Run As accounts by combining with “sudo” elevation on the target UNIX-based and Linux-based computers. This capability avoids the need for UNIX or Linux root passwords to be known on the management server, and keeps the privilege control entirely within the domain of the UNIX or Linux administrator. Operations Manager 2012 also includes new Windows PowerShell cmdlets for performing agent maintenance functions on UNIX-based and Linux-based computers, allowing for scripting and background operations. In addition, the resource pool feature supports computers running UNIX and Linux. If a management server fails, another management server in the resource pool can take over the monitoring, providing high availability.