A: System Center 2012 consists of many components that were previously separate products, such as System Center Configuration Manager and System Center Operations Manager.

Even though System Center 2012 is now a single product, each component has its own installation processes and requirements.

The System Center 2012 Unified Installer enables a simple deployment of all of the System Center 2012 components for testing and proof-of-concept purposes.

It does so by deploying each component to its own OS instance (two for System Center 2012 Service Manager) with its own local SQL Server through a single wizard.

Using the Unified Installer streamlines installation, reducing the process from 421 installation screens to 16, allowing a complete deployment in around three hours.

The Unified Installer isn't intended for production environment rollouts but is a great way to quickly get the complete System Center 2012 product deployed in a testing environment to start digging into the functionality and learning.

The Unified Installer works with physical and virtual OSs. The user provisions the actual OSs first (which must be Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1), joins them to the domain, then passes the OS names to the Unified Installer for the deployment of the System Center 2012 components.

*We do more than Windows--check out all of John Savill's FAQs!