Thursday 26 January 2012

System Center Essentials 2012 - Wherefore art thou?

A customer came with a query the other day on the back of the System Center 2012 licensing changes.
They were asking what impact this would have on System Center Essentials since that is what they currently use, and what was the roadmap for a newer version.

Since I focus predominantly on the "Bigger" version of the System Center stack, it made me realise that maybe subconsciously I had been filtering out any Essentials information so I thought it was time to do a quick review of the changes.

However... as I started to do some digging I realised there was a distinct lack of information around System Center Essentials, almost to the point where I thought a black hole had appeared next to Redmond and sucked every snippet of info into it about Essentials.

I did manage to find this comment though on the Technet Forums from Yog Li, a Technet Forum Assistant:


We have not yet provided an update or roadmap regarding SCE.

As we move forward with the development of System Center 2012, we remain committed to providing a “right-sized” set of management tools for IT in the midmarket segment that makes it easy for these customers to set up and manage Hyper-V. We anticipate that details on our midmarket strategy will be released in the months ahead. We will be sure to communicate any updates through all regional marketing leads and channels as well as this discussion group.

In the interim, Essentials 2010 remains an important and strategic management solution as part of Microsoft’s System Center family of IT systems management products allowing us to compete head-to-head with VMware in the midmarket segment. SCE 2010 is easy to deploy and provides customers a unified single console solution that enables proactive IT management of more physical and virtual Windows Servers than ever before.

In FY12, SCE 2010 continues to play an important role for our customers and their Journey to the Cloud as part of the Managed Virtualization story for the mid-market segment.

/End Quote

The question this raises now is, just how likely is it that we will see a SCE2012 version?
It's highly unlikely at this stage of the game that one will be available at the same time as the rest of System Center 2012 launches.

To be honest, is there a place anymore for SCE?  With the new licensing changes providing SC2012 as a bundle only and for those with Virtualisation it should be fairly cost effective to license for the full SC2012.  Only downside is multiple consoles.

So for now it's pretty much wait and see....


Paul McAdam said...

I believe this is the official position:
"Q: What is the product roadmap for System Center Essentials 2010? Will there be a 2012 version of System Center Essentials?
A: In 2012, System Center Essentials 2010 continues to play an important role for our mid-sized customers on their Journey to the Cloud by providing managed virtualization with an integrated virtual and physical IT management solution. As we move forward with the development of System Center 2012, we remain committed to providing a “right-sized” set of management functionality and tools for IT in the midmarket that makes it easy for these customers to setup and manage Hyper V. Details on our midmarket management strategy will be released in the months ahead."
Take a look at our licensing guide below.

Steve Beaumont said...

Thanks Paul, so basically the answer is "Possibly, Maybe, Who Knows. Keep watching this space..."

When was that quote from?

Miha said...

Perhaps the cost of the "full" products isn't all that excessive, but the implementation, resources are.

I can't imagine installing SCCM, SCOM, SCVMM for about 80 machines and 15 or so servers.

SCE fills that gap...but I'm not buying it until I know that it will be supported/developed in the future.

Same thing with TMG.

MS is loosing money because of a lack of a roadmap, communication with their customer base.

Bill MacK said...

Windows Intune is the replacement for SCE.

Unfortunately. $11.00/desktop doesn't even come close to Kaseya, Level Platforms or Connectwise. And they have Service Management built in, not just monitoring.

Miha said...

The thing is Intune can't be offered as a replacement until servers are also supported.

Jaxter said...

InTune, another cloud failure that will dig into our pockets and provide exactly what the cloud does, nothing but air...

Steve Beaumont said...

@Miha I'd expect server support to be coming soon ;)
@Jaxter Intune already has a strong feature set, it's not just cloud vapour ware. Add to the mix the ability to support and deploy apps to iOS and Android coming in the next version and it definately has a place.

Further more, if you start to think in terms of Intune becoming a replacement/alternative to Configuration Manager when they add OS deployment and some sort of on premise gateway then it becomes even more compelling (Hosted SCCM anyone)

Miha said...

@Steve: I sure hope so :)

AlexS said...

Thanks for the info on this. As the admin for a small business that just recently adopted SCE 2010, I am now looking at some of the great changes in SC 2012. The only thought that comes to my mind is that if they don't come up with some kind of upgrade or even transition path for SCE users, then why exactly should I bother buying Software Assurance anymore? This feels an awful lot like a simple contract dodge that screws small businesses.

Steve Whitcher said...

I started a chat with MS the day of the SC 2012 announcements. At the time, the rep clearly stated that SCE 2010 owners with Software assurance would be automatically upgraded to the SC2012 suite.

Obviously, that rep was wrong, MS has since backed down and essentially given no answer. SCE has no official future, but they also won't kill it because then they would have to offer a replacement to SA owners.

Heck, if nothing else they should upgrade the version of DPM that comes with SCE Plus licenses, but they won't even do that at this point.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen any updates on the SCE roadmap?

I notice that the SCE 2010 TechNet blog has gone quiet - no comments since last year (2011)!

Miha said...

I have a strange feeling that not only will there be no SCE update (I'm sure of that), but that SC itself will soon be EOL as well.

I hope Intune won't be the only available alternative from MS.

Anonymous said...

Spoke to Microsoft and they said that SC 2012 is the only option for customers. An Essentials (i.e. cut-down) edition is no longer available as an option. So I've installed Spiceworks as SCE 2010 doesn't work very well in a 2012 environment.

Anonymous said...

Got this comment: "Microsoft already announced last year there won't be any future release"