A: Prior to System Center 2012, there were many different products in the System Center family:

  • System Center Configuration Manager
  • System Center Operations Manager
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager
  • System Center Data Protection Manager
  • System Center Service Manager
  • Opalis

Each had its own licensing for management licenses. Some had different versions that included SQL Server. Some required that you also pay for the actual management servers.

And, of course, the entire suite could also be purchased. In total, there were over 30 different ways to license System Center.

For System Center 2012, the licensing has been simplified.

System Center 2012 is now a single product that's comprised of all the System Center components with the addition of System Center App Controller, System Center Endpoint Protection, and Opalis, which is now renamed System Center Orchestrator.

Although in the past each product in the System Center family was a different version, with System Center 2012 each component is now being updated to have a single version number.

The System Center 2012 product comes in two license versions for the servers being managed, and there is no longer a separate Management Server software license to buy for each component.

The list below shows System Center 2012 components (note that you'd also need to add the SQL Server runtime licenses unless the included Standard SQL rights are used):

  • System Center Configuration Manager
  • System Center Operations Manager
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager
  • System Center Data Protection Manager
  • System Center Service Manager
  • System Center Orchestrator
  • System Center App Controller
  • System Center Endpoint Protection

Both licenses have exactly the same components and exactly the same capabilities. Both are licensed in two-processor increments (note that this is socket and not per-core). The difference is in the virtual rights:

  • System Center 2012 Standard - Two OS Instances - Use this for physical boxes or very lightly virtualized environments.
  • System Center 2012 Datacenter - Unlimited OS Instances - Use this for virtualized environments.

For clients with existing System Center licenses that are covered by Software Assurance get a grant for the new System Center 2012 product. The grant is based on the current license and is shown below. (For more information, read the datasheet PDF at the Microsoft System Center 2012 Release Candidate webpage.)  sc2012grant

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