With 2013 barely on us, you may wonder why Microsoft has already released a service pack for System Center 2012. Released early in 2012, System Center 2012 didn’t support the unreleased Windows Server 2012 operation system. The original System Center 2012 release was designed for Windows Server 2008 R2. The new System Center 2012 SP1 remedies that by adding full support for all the new features in Windows Server 2012—and there are a lot of them.

The improvements in Windows Server 2012 really boost the private cloud capabilities provided by Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2012 SP1. Some of the main improvements that System Center SP1 provides for VMM 2012 include:

  • Windows Server 2012 is required as the platform for VMM 2012 SP1
  • Support for clusters with up to 64 nodes
  • Ability to manage up to 600 hosts and 12,000 VMs
  • Support for large VMs with up to 64 vCPUs and 1TB of vRAM
  • Support for the new .vhdx VM on-disk format
  • Support for SMB 3.0 file shares
  • SMB live migration
  • Shared-nothing live migration
  • Live Virtual System Migration (VSM)
  • Multiple concurrent live migration
  • Support for network virtualization
  • Support for NIC teaming
  • The Self-Service Portal has been removed
  • App Controller is the new self-service portal solution
  • Ability to manage vSphere 5.0 and XenServer 6.0
  • Support for Linux VM templates
  • SMI-S storage management
There's currently a beta of the System Center 2012 SP1 that you can download and the RTM is available for TechNet and MSDN customers. The general availability is expected by the end of January 2013. You can find out more details about the upcoming SP1 release for VMM 2012 at What’s New in System Center 2012 – Virtual Machine Manager.