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With Mainstream Support for Microsoft System Center 2019 ending in 2024, and the new world of work fuelling cloud adoption, it's time to consider the future of your on-premises data centre.

System Center 2019 – the latest version of Microsoft’s data-centre management and monitoring application – gives you the tools to govern data centres running Windows Server 2019 and enables hybrid management and oversight with Azure.

Released in March two years ago, the System Center 2019 product suite falls under Microsoft’s Fixed Lifecycle Policy. End of Support (EOS) dates for System Center 2019 Data Protection Manager, System Center 2019 Operations Manager, System Center 2019 Orchestrator, System Center 2019 Service Manager, and System Center 2019 Virtual Machine Manager are confirmed: Mainstream Support ends on 9 April 2024 and Extended Support ends five years later, on 9 April 2029.

Microsoft has outlined its road map for System Center 2019 and Update Rollups – with features, enhancements, and fixes – are currently being issued a few times a year.

Microsoft has also outlined its cloud-first strategy, and is increasingly investing in Azure to provide system management capabilities for Windows Server and Linux virtual machines and hosts. Inside Microsoft itself, System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) has been dropped in favour of an Azure service: the company uses Azure Monitor to address operations support for its own applications.

With the System Center 2019 EOS dates on the horizon in 2024 and 2029, you may not feel hard-pressed to re-evaluate your on-premises data centre immediately. But as you build out your business systems – to empower your teams for the new world of work and to drive your digital transformation initiatives – it’s important to invest in future-ready technology.

Here are some of the most compelling Azure resources to weigh as alternatives for your System Center 2019 toolkit.

Backup and disaster recovery with Azure

Two Azure services offer similar capabilities to System Center’s Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) and Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM).

Azure Backup can back up your physical machines on-premises, virtual machines in Azure, or virtual machines running on hypervisors on-premises. Storage options include locally redundant, geo-redundant and zone-redundant storage for long-term data recoverability.

Azure Site Recovery enables multiple disaster recovery options for your entire site by replicating groups of virtual machines in these scenarios:

  • Enterprise to Enterprise (between your primary and secondary sites)
  • Enterprise to Azure (from on-premises to Azure virtual machines)
  • Azure to Azure (from Azure VMs in one region to Azure VMs in another region)

With Azure Backup and Azure Site Recovery, you can prepare for unplanned outages and be ready to respond and recover as quickly as possible.

Management and monitoring with Azure

The management and monitoring capabilities provided by Azure Automation, Azure Monitor, and Azure Arc-enabled servers are comparable to System Center’s Operations Manager (SCOM), Orchestrator (SCO), and Service Manager (SCSM) software.

Azure Automation allows you to automate, configure, and install updates across hybrid environments. By automating frequent and time-consuming management tasks, you can reduce operational errors and boost efficiency.

Azure Monitor collects and analyses telemetry data from on-premises and Azure environments to help you monitor your infrastructure, applications, and networks. With end-to-end visibility and deeper insights, you can quickly identify and resolve problems.

With Azure Arc-enabled servers, you can extend the Azure resource manager framework to allow for the creation of Azure resources for operating system environments (OSEs) hosted outside of Azure. In this way, on-premises servers can be managed via the Azure portal and other Azure tools.

With Azure Automation, Azure Monitor, and Azure Arc-enabled servers, you can leverage Azure’s scale and power for more comprehensive control and oversight.

Security with Azure

Azure Security Center offers security management, monitoring, and alerting capabilities to Windows and Linux virtual machines, including:

  • Management of Microsoft and third-party endpoint protection software on OSEs
  • Monitoring and notification of potentially malicious activity on OSEs
  • Threat intelligence and OSE misconfiguration warnings based on data gathered by Microsoft
  • Anomaly detection to highlight potential cyberattacks

Azure Defender can be integrated into Azure Security Center to offer additional capabilities. Azure Defender for Servers (applicable to physical servers and VMs) includes:

  • Management of just-in-time VM access to limit inbound traffic to Azure VMs except when requested and required
  • Analysis of network and application usage to help limit unwanted network traffic and application activity
  • System call alerts for Linux servers

With Azure Security Center and Azure Defender, you can manage and secure your Windows and Linux VMs, and improve your overall security posture.

Migrate to modernise

Microsoft will end Mainstream Support for System Center 2019 in less than three years. And in 2029, Extended Support for the suite will cease, too. We expect forthcoming updates and any additional features to focus on improving on-premises capabilities and further integrating System Center with Azure’s range of services.

If you plan to keep using System Center 2019, then be sure to bookmark these online resources to stay up to date with developments and announcements:

And if you want to explore your options for cloud-powered transformation, or data-centre migration to Azure, then book a workshop with us:

We can help you design a migration strategy, create a road map for implementation, and guide you and your teams through a seamless and secure Azure migration process. Get in touch to learn more.

Get maximum value from your Azure investment.

As a Gold Microsoft Partner and Microsoft Azure Expert MSP, we’re able to deliver innovative cloud solutions that work for you.

Take a look at our customer success stories to see how we’ve transformed enterprises in South Africa and around the world.

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