Azure management services and System Center: What's New in February 2020

The month of February was full of news and there are different updates that affected the Azure management services and System Center. This article summarizes to have a comprehensive overview of the main news of the month, in order to stay up to date on these topics and have the necessary references to conduct further exploration.

Azure Monitor

Changes to the Log Analytics schema

Important news has been made to the Azure Monitor Log Analytics schema to help you browse your content faster and easier.

Updates in the log view

Azure Monitor Log Analytics has greatly improved the appearance in the log view. New charts have been introduced that can quickly and easily display the collected data and provide the ability to obtain more information from it effectively.

Azure Site Recovery

Retirement of some protection scenarios

Starting from 1 march 2023 you will no longer be able to use Azure Site Recoivery for the following security scenarios:

  • Between customer-owned sites managed by System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM)
  • Between sites managed by SCVMM to Azure

Therefore, by this date, you must modify the configuration to use the protection scenario between Hyper-V and between Hyper-V and Azure, always without SCVMM. Data for protection scenarios that are no longer supported will be removed from the specified date.

Retirement of Azure Site Recovery data encryption functionality

Starting from 30 April 2022 Azure Site Recovery data encryption functionality will be retired and replaced with more advanced encryption mechanisms such asEncryption at Rest with Azure Site Recovery, usingStorage Service Encryption (SSE). Thanks to the adoption of SSE, the data will be encrypted before residing on the storage and decrypted when it is picked up.

Azure Backup

Azure Offline Backup with Azure Data Box

Customers using Azure Backup can now take advantage of Azure Data Box to move large backups through an offiline migration mechanism. The solution is to use both Azure Data Box (appliance from 100 TB) and also Azure Data Box disks (up to 8 TB each), through Azure Recovery Services Agent, to place large initial backups (up to 80 TB per server) in offline mode to an Azure Recovery Services Vault. Subsequent backups will then be made over the network.

Figure 1 – Azure Offline Backup with Azure Data Box

Windows Server support 2008

Azure Backup announced support for Windows Server systems 2008. This facilitates the migration of On-premises systems based on Windows Server 2008 to Azure, so you can continue to get security patches.

Selective exclusion of disks to be protected

Azure Backup now allows you to selectively exclude disks to protect on a virtual machine. This allows you to achieve cost savings for your solution if there are disks that you don't want to protect using Azure Backup.

Backup Explorer

Azure Backup now offers a new solution, currently in preview, called Backup Explorer, an integrated Azure Monitor Workbook which allows for centralized control in real time on the progress of the various backup.

Figure 2 – Overview di Backup Explorer

System Center

Update Rollup 1 for System Center 2019

For System Center 2019 it was released the first update rollup. This update introduces new features, make error corrections and affects the following products:

Microsoft Endpoint Manager

New releases for the Technical Preview Branch

For Configuration Manager were released in the Technical Preview Branch the’update 2001.2, the’update 2002 and the’update 2002.2. Among the main innovations, improvements to Desktop Analytics and task sequences are introduced. They also allow to obtain novelty inherent in Orchestration Groups, an evolution of the Server Groups.

To check the details of what's included in these updates, you can check these documents:

Please note that Releases in the Technical Preview Branch allow you to preview new Configuration Manager features, and it is recommended that you apply these updates only in test environments.

Evaluation of Azure and System Center

To test for free and evaluate the services provided by Azure you can access this page, while to try the various System Center components you must access theEvaluation Center and, after registering, you can start the trial period.