BARCELONA, Spain, November 12 /PRNewswire/ --

- Suite delivers advanced capabilities for managing client as well as physical and virtualised server environments, helping customers maximise productivity and reduce costs of ownership.

Today at Microsoft TechEd IT Forum 2007, Microsoft Corp announced the general availability of three new products within the Microsoft System Center suite of IT management solutions, a simplified and comprehensive licensing model for server management, and an expansion of alliances and investments, all of which help provide organisations with the solutions they need to achieve more dynamic IT systems.

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Now available to customers are System Center Configuration Manager 2007, System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007. The solutions complement Microsoft's other enterprise System Center offerings, which include System Center Operations Manager 2007 and System Center Capacity Planner 2007, released earlier this year, and the recently announced System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008, which will be available in the first half of 2008. In addition, Microsoft is launching the System Center Alliance programme for partners who want deeper engagement with Microsoft and plan to deliver solutions building on Microsoft's IT management tools, while also providing a method for increasing the awareness and availability of those solutions to customers.

"Customers look to Microsoft for solutions that help them manage their IT environments in cost-effective and efficient ways, freeing them to focus more on transforming their infrastructure into a strategic and progressive asset for their business," said Brad Anderson, general manager of the Management Solutions Division at Microsoft. "With this new wave of System Center products and the broad support of our partner ecosystem, organisations have the enterprise-strength management capabilities required to unify and optimise their physical and virtual IT environments, enabling them to improve the overall bottom-line value and contributions to their businesses."

New Offerings Extend Management in the Data Centre and Deliver Improved Economics

With this wave of product releases, Microsoft is building on its strong desktop management foundation and making additional investments across the portfolio to further System Center's capabilities in the data centre. These efforts expand Microsoft's ability to effectively address customers' needs and have helped the company rise to be one of the top four distributed system management software vendors by revenue, as tracked by IDC in its report Worldwide Distributed System Management Software 2007-2011 Forecast Summary and 2006 Vendor Shares.(i)

Customers making the investment in the new System Center portfolio will find the offerings help improve the economics of managing their infrastructure while delivering significant new benefits in core areas that are top of mind with IT today, including the following:

-- Client and server deployment and update. As customers look to ease the deployment, upgrading and management of desktop clients and servers, System Center Configuration Manager 2007 builds on its proven strengths in desktop management, found in its predecessor, Systems Management Server 2003, by improving and enhancing those existing client capabilities and adding new server-specific requirements to extend into data centre environments, including automating the deployment of server operating systems for bare metal and delivering updates to existing servers. -- Server virtualisation management. Customers interested in benefiting from the significant economic and infrastructure advantages offered by virtualising their data centre environments also require the right tools to manage those dynamic new configurations. System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007 enables IT departments to rapidly provision new virtual machines and centrally manage their virtual infrastructure. With the System Center suite of offerings customers have a comprehensive solution designed to monitor, protect and update virtual machines. -- Line-of-business applications monitoring. Ensuring that line-of-business applications are at peak performance is critical to any business; downtime equals a loss of worker productivity, causing ripple effects throughout an organisation. The System Center suite, including System Center Configuration Manager 2007, Data Protection Manager 2007 and Operations Manager 2007, provides IT organisations with the tools they need to help effectively manage, protect and monitor their business applications and databases to ensure optimal service delivery and performance. -- Data backup and disaster recovery. For any business, data loss means loss of revenue, increased expenses and potential damage to customer relationships. Whether the data is centralised or located at branch offices, the System Center Data Protection Manager 2007's backup, restore and recovery capabilities provide the peace of mind IT organisations need by helping ensure their data is protected and available when they need it.

"The new System Center offerings provide broad management capabilities that will help Carnival realise greater efficiencies across our organisation, enabling us to not only manage the environments of our end users, but also have the powerful new tools we need to easily and quickly deploy and manage servers in our data centres," said Rodney Orange, Wintel Server Engineering Team, Carnival Cruise Lines. "The products we're using and evaluating -- including Data Protection Manager 2007, Configuration Manager 2007 and Operations Manager 2007 -- are already providing improvements in productivity and reduced cost of IT operations. With the System Center products Microsoft has demonstrated its understanding of how to address the breadth of management needs of IT organisations."

In addition to this new product functionality, Microsoft is providing a simplified pricing and comprehensive licensing model, the Enterprise Edition of the System Center Server Management Suite licence, which allows customers to manage the entire life cycle of their servers -- including an unlimited number of guest operating system environments on a virtualized server -- with one low-cost purchase and provides economic value for managing physical and virtual environments.

Industry Alliances Drive Broader Customer Solutions

Today Microsoft also launched the System Center Alliance programme, which establishes an online community to help technology partners more easily collaborate on and create offerings that extend the management capabilities of System Center solutions to Microsoft and non-Microsoft applications and platforms. It also provides customers with a diverse directory of offerings that can help them reduce their overall IT management costs, improve application availability and enhance service delivery.

The list of partners delivering offerings for System Center today continues to expand rapidly, with more than 40 partners' software and hardware solutions available, including those from 1E, Advanced Micro Devices Inc, AVIcode Inc, Bocada Inc, Brabeion Software Corp, Brocade Communications Systems Inc, Citrix Systems Inc, Computer Sciences Corp, Cristalink Ltd, Dell Inc, Dimension Data, DudeWorks Inc, Enterpris Certified Corp, EMC Corp, Emulex Corp, EqualLogic Inc, F5 Networks Inc, FujitsuSiemens Computers, FullArmor, Getronics, HP, IBM Corp, Intel Corporation, Intrinsic Technologies LLC, Jalasoft, Macrovision Corp., NEC Corp., Nokia, Odyssey Software Inc., PS'Soft, Quest Software Inc., Sanbolic Inc., SCCM Expert, ScriptLogic Corp., Secure Vantage Technologies Inc., Silect Software Inc., Spectra Logic Corp. and Tidal Software.

"HP and Microsoft have a long history of helping our joint customers more effectively manage hardware installations through industry-leading management tools," said Scott Farrand, vice president of Industry Standard Server Software at HP. "Our new HP ProLiant and BladeSystem Management Packs for the System Center suite will help customers realise greater IT efficiency, performance and reliability in Microsoft Windows environments. In addition, HP's new PolyServe Software for Microsoft SQL Server includes a management pack that extends across System Center to roll out business applications more quickly and improve reliability."

Customers interested in finding more information on the System Center offerings or in evaluating them through trial offerings can visit http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/evaluation/trial/default.mspx and the System Center blog at http://blogs.technet.com/systemcenter. Additional information about the System Center Alliance programme and community can be found at http://www.systemcenterpartners.com.

About Microsoft TechEd Europe

In its 14th year in Europe, TechEd is Microsoft's definitive European conference for building, deploying, securing and managing connected solutions. With a strong mix of developer, infrastructure and messaging content, Microsoft TechEd Europe is Microsoft's premier technical training conference for a wide range of technology professionals. TechEd Europe, held this year in the Centre Convencions Internacional (CCIB) in Barcelona, Spain, encompasses both TechEd Developers (5-9 Nov) and TechEd IT Forum (12-16 Nov).

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.

About Microsoft EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa)

Microsoft has operated in EMEA since 1982. In the region Microsoft employs more than 13,000 people in 60 subsidiaries, delivering products and services in 138 countries and territories.

(i) IDC, Worldwide Distributed System Management Software 2007-2011 Forecast Summary and 2006 Vendor Shares, Doc # 208325, August 2007

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Kim Kuresman of Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, +1-425-638-7000, kimk@waggeneredstrom.com, for Microsoft Corp ; NOTE TO EDITORS: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft in EMEA, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/emea or the EMEA Press Centre at http://www.microsoft.com/emea/presscentre . Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at the time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact the appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/emea/presscentre/contactus.mspx ; Photo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO , AP Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.org , PRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.com