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Microsoft Releases System Center Essentials & Data Protection Manager 2010

by Aaron Leskiw, CCDA, CCNA, MCSE, ITILv3, MCSA, A+ - Last Updated: April 20, 2010

Microsoft System Center 2010 Logo

If you run a mid-sized business, you may have found it hard to find good systems management software that will monitor and patch your servers, generate reports, and deploy software to workstations. Enterprise-class software is often too complex and expensive, while low-end software may not have the features you need.

Microsoft hopes to change that with the release of System Center Essentials 2010. Systems Center Essentials (SCE) is a stripped down version of the full System Center package.

According to Microsoft:

System Center Essentials 2010 (SCE 2010) provides IT professionals in mid-sized organizations with a unified physical and virtual management experience. It enables you to better secure, update, monitor, and troubleshoot from a single console, so you can efficiently and proactively manage your IT environment.

And the SCE homepage sums up the key features:

  • Built for midsized businesses (50-500 PCs)
  • Target user is IT generalist who performs broad range of IT tasks
  • Scale limits: 50 Windows Servers and 500 Windows Clients
  • Single management server solution (limit one per domain)
  • Easy to use
  • Aggressively priced

An excellent feature comparison chart is also available to see the difference between the full System Center, and System Center Essentials. Pricing starts at an estimated $2000USD to manage 10 servers and 50 PCs.

Microsoft Data Protection Manager 2010 LogoMicrosoft also released a new version of a companion product today: Data Protection Manager 2010. Data Protection Manager (DPM) helps with protection and fast-recovery of critical applications like SQL and Exchange – but also provides policy management for desktops.  The new version is designed to be more scalable for both midsize or enterprise-class organizations.

Key additions to DPM 2010 include:

  • The ability for roaming laptops to get centrally managed policies around desktop protection, so that your laptop data is protected, whether you are connected to the corporate network or remote
  • Enhanced virtualization protection, including Hyper-V R2 LiveMigration scenarios and the ability to recover single-files from within host-based backups
  • Additional protection and recovery capabilities for Windows application servers like SQL Server, Exchange or SharePoint
  • Native site-to-site replication for disaster recovery to either another DPM server or an off-site cloud provider
  • Significant enterprise-scalability increases for deploying DPM in large environments
  • Centrally managed System State and Bare Metal Recovery

More information on Data Protection Manager can be found on the DPM homepage.

This combination of products should help mid-sized businesses by providing a feature-rich product at an affordable price point.