A: The beta for System Center 2012 SP1 was made available on September 9 and is available from the Microsoft Download Center.

Although System Center 2012 is one product, and this is a consolidated service-pack release for all components, there are separate service-pack downloads for each component of System Center 2012, including Configuration Manager, Virtual Machine Manager, App Controller, Operations Manager, Data Protection Manager, Service Manager and Orchestrator.

For guidance on the proper order in which to update components, see my previous FAQ "Q: What order should I upgrade System Center 2012 to System Center 2012 SP1?"

Although there are many new features in System Center 2012 SP1 beta, key features include the following:

  • Support to run management servers on Windows Server 2012 and support for Windows Server 2012 as a client
  • Support for Windows 8
  • Support for SQL Server 2012 as the database server for System Center 2012 SP1
  • Support for management of Windows Azure IaaS
  • Support for Linux/Unix and Mac OS X clients with Configuration Manager
  • Full support for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V features such as Network Virtualization and SMB shares
  • Integration of Configuration Manager and Windows Intune for mobile device management, which includes Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 (see more details at this Microsoft Blog