Welcome to the official System Center blog from Brad Anderson

Hi and welcome to the first post on the official System Center blog and please allow me to introduce myself, my name is Brad Anderson and I’m the General Manager for the Management and Solutions Division at Microsoft.  In this position I oversee the teams responsible for the development and engineering for areas that fall under the systems management products and instrumentation technology at Microsoft, which includes the products in the System Center suite of products such as Operations Manager 2007, Configuration Manager 2007, Data Protection Manager 2007, Virtual Machine Manager 2007, Windows Update, Windows Power Shell and others.  If you follow the enterprise management space you can imagine that things are pretty busy for us right now…. actually the whole year has kept us pretty busy, but it’s also a very exciting time as all the pieces start coming together for us and our customers.
I’m personally excited about enterprise systems management because of a couple areas that the System Center suite is in a great position to help our customers address.  The first area is our Dynamic IT vision, part of the Microsoft Dynamic Systems Initiative, which is about enabling IT to be a more strategic and innovative asset for businesses. I talk to a lot of customers, and have heard a consistent theme of frustration over the time it takes to deploy and maintain systems leaving them with little time for future planning and integrating with the other pieces of the business.  With our emphasis on a model driven approach and solutions like System Center Configuration Manager 2007, including new features such as the Task Sequencer or Desired Configuration Management, we’re in a great position to provide customers with the enablers they need to be more efficient in these areas and begin to realize the benefits of moving their IT infrastructure – from the desktop through the datacenter – in a dynamic direction.  Back in July of this year, just after I assumed the leadership role in MSD, I made a post to the Windows Server blog and talked about Dynamic IT and some of the other things we are working on regarding new products.  For more of my thoughts in this area check out that posting.  For customers deploying Windows Server 2008, they’ll find a variety of benefits across the System Center suite when planning their roll out and we’ll cover that more in the future here.
Whether it’s easier deployment with System Center Configuration Manager 2007, monitoring server health with System Center Operations Manager 2007, protecting their central and branch data with System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 or managing across their physical and virtual environments the System Center suite of offerings provides the right tools to manage a Windows Server 2008 environment. We’re actually crafting a whitepaper on Windows Server management and hope to have that for you in the next month. I’ll be sure to link to it when it’s ready for prime time.
We’re always keeping our eye on trends and one that is top of mind currently is virtualization for both servers and applications.  As I talk with customers, I’ve met many that say they have physical servers in the datacenter that only use about 15% of their CPU capacity on average.  As they adopt virtualization technologies, customers are beginning to see the cost benefits around hardware and software consolidation whether that’s due to maximizing the efficiency of their hardware or being able to save money on their energy costs.  Some of the challenges they’re seeing are that as they take advantage of these types of technologies, they don’t want to learn a new UI or set of tools for deploying or managing that it and don’t want to worry about how to integrate it with other pieces of their infrastructure like their back-up and storage systems.  The great news is that with the System Center suite of offerings they don’t need to because they’ll have a consistent set of tools across the physical and virtual infrastructure.  With Virtual Machine Manager 2007 customers have centralized deployment and management tools for physical and virtual environments which integrate with other System Center and Microsoft products along with a familiar UI for the administrator.
The other virtualization area that we’ve seen great progress in is around managing application virtualization with the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance (MDOP).  Through a combination of SoftGrid Application Virtualization, Asset Inventory Service, Microsoft Advanced Group Policy Management, Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset and System Center Desktop Error Monitoring, MDOP enables the delivery of applications as services in a highly cost-effective and flexible way which provides customers with easier management and better control of their desktops.  We’ve seen incredible adoption of MDOP with it being the fastest selling version 1 offering in the history of Microsoft’s volume licensing program and I believe over time application virtualization will revolutionize software deployment and management on Windows.
Hopefully this quick introduction provides you with some insight into a few of the things, at a high level, that I’m thinking about and which I hope to go into more detail on in a later blog entry.  We work to actively incorporate what we’re hearing from customers into our System Center offerings to ensure that they have the tools they need to effectively manage their IT infrastructure and in the process help them become more dynamic, so let us know what’s on your mind.  I urge you to come back and visit the blog or setup an RSS feed to it so that you can stay up to date on what the System Center team has going on.  It’s going to be an exciting fall and winter for us and we’re looking forward to next year as well when Windows Server 2008 begins to roll out to customers and we can be there for them with the System Center suite of offerings to help them more easily deploy it in their environments.  I’ll be back from time to time to make posts and you’ll see a variety of other people contributing here as well.  We also look forward to hearing from you with your thoughts on what you’d like to see posted here from the team.
Thanks – Brad