What are the significant changes to System Center 2016?

Microsoft won't include App Controller and Server App-V via VMM in its System Center 2016 suite, so organizations might need to modify their WAP environment management practices.

Say goodbye to some of your favorite System Center features. With Microsoft's release of its 2016 suite comes improvements to and simplification of data center management, but App Controller and Server App-V via VMM are unfortunately no longer among its offerings.

First, we saw Microsoft retire the physical-to-virtual (P2V) feature from System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2012 R2. While Microsoft removed the P2V feature from SCVMM 2012 R2, there's no apparent motivation behind removing App Controller from the upcoming System Center 2016 -- and yet, Microsoft is doing exactly that. What made Microsoft move forward with such a big change? App Controller has been in System Center for a number of years and has been a user-friendly component for managing and administering virtualized workloads deployed in both private and cloud environments. App Controller has been a first choice for developers to use as a self-service tool to deploy VMs quickly.

While Microsoft has not offered a concrete explanation as to why it's removing App Controller from its System Center 2016 suite, it's understood Microsoft wants customers to focus on deploying Windows Azure Pack (WAP) for Windows Server. This, in turn, allows completeness of on-premises cloud services -- platform as a service, software as a service and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Note that App Controller only provides IaaS.

Microsoft has also eliminated the ability to create new service templates to deploy App-V packages via SCVMM. However, you can continue to use the existing service templates with Server App-V packages and manage applications via Virtual Machine Manager (VMM), if you upgrade from SCVMM to SCVMM 2016, but you will not be able to process upgrades to the App-V applications.

In a nutshell, while I don't see many organizations using service templates to deploy App-V packages via VMM, the removal of App Controller from Microsoft's System Center 2016 suite might cost midsize organizations a lot of money if they need to retire App Controller and deploy Windows Azure Pack just to provide IaaS. Windows Azure Pack is a complex product; it can take quite an extensive amount of work to install and will require more IT resources to manage the WAP environment.

Next Steps

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