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Hyper-V 3.0 tools won't emerge until System Center 2012 SP1

Windows Server 2012 becomes available on Sept. 4, but the software necessary to manage the newest version of Hyper-V remains at the pre-beta stage.

Windows Server 2012 will become generally available Sept. 4, but IT shops that want to deploy the newest version of Hyper-V have to wait for Service Pack 1 to manage Hyper-V hosts running the new OS.

The current shipping version of System Center 2012 only supports Hyper-V hosts running Windows Server 2008, according to Microsoft documentation.

Meanwhile, System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1), which will be compatible with Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V (or Hyper-V 3.0), is in its second Community Technology Preview, a pre-beta version that most users won't run in production.

System Center 2012 SP1 is necessary to take advantage of new features in Hyper-V, from Network Virtualization using Generic Routing Encapsulation (NVGRE), to live migration enhancements and improved backup support for Cluster Shared Volumes (CSVs).

Microsoft hasn't communicated the timing of a release candidate or release to manufacturers (RTM) for SP1, even to members of its Technology Adoption Program or Most Valuable Professional communities, according to sources.

More specific information on Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 integration will be communicated in the coming months, Microsoft officials said.

This isn't the first time there's been a gap between the release of a hypervisor and the release of management software, said Rob McShinsky, a senior systems engineer with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H. McShinsky remembers a lag of about eight months between the release of Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V and the RTM of a compatible version of Data Protection Manager.

"I do wonder if lumping all the System Center products into one suite will make it tougher to keep everything in sync," McShinsky said.

Some industry observers aren't surprised about the timing or the silence on the release of SP1. Users will need time to absorb the upgrade to a new OS to lay the groundwork for SP1 and the new Hyper-V, said Eugene Alfaro, director of IT engineering services at Cornerstone Technologies, an IT engineering services firm in San Jose, Calif., which is a Microsoft partner.

"Very few [shops] are really driven by advanced features," he said. "You pretty much know you're already a Microsoft shop and you're just going to the next version of the platform -- then you leverage the advanced features down the road four, six or nine months later."

A dual release of Windows Server 2012 and System Center SP1 could actually be a bad thing, in Alfaro's view, because it would put "undue pressure on IT organizations."

"You can only consume so much," he said.

Beth Pariseau is a senior news writer for and Write to her at or follow @PariseauTT on Twitter.

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