In all the Windows 8.1 hoopla that's sure to drown out other news today, it's important to note that the R2 components for System Center 2012 are also releasing. System Center 2012 R2 represents important steps for Microsoft as they continue to march toward a world ensconced in the Microsoft Cloud.

There are many, many improvements in the R2 bits and I'll be covering those here later. For those that want to skip the craziness of the Windows 8.1 release day and hide away in the server room somewhere, you too can have your own toys to download and play with today.

The R2 bits are now on TechNet and MSDN. Go get 'em.

...and, feel free to report back on download times, installation experiences, and cool features.

P.S.  @stephen3rd reports…