Microsoft capacity planning tool set for year-end release

Too includes new capabilities for Exchange and SharePoint

Microsoft plans to release by year-end its tool to help user's size deployments of servers such as Exchange and SharePoint.

On Tuesday, the company said on its Operations Manager product team blog that the final beta of System Center Capacity Planner (SCCP) 2007 is available on its Web site and said the final code will be completed by year-end.

The SCCP 2007 "release candidate" is publicly available. It includes capabilities for planning new server roles in Exchange 2007, selecting Exchange cluster configurations, factoring disk IO background load for mailbox servers and modeling for 64-bit processors.

SCCP is a modeling, analytical and simulation tool that helps IT plan rollouts of Microsoft software or test expansions of existing deployments.

Developed by Microsoft Research, SCCP lets users create "what-if" scenarios and experiment with different hardware and software configurations and user behavior before deploying anything on a live network.

Users create a model of their proposed application, its surrounding infrastructure, and a host of characteristics such as the number of offices and users. The tool then runs a simulation and returns a summary of the performance of both the application and the supporting infrastructure components.

SCCP models take into account topology, hardware, software and usage profiles. SCCP also offers capacity and performance tracking, forecasting reports, and guidance for enhancing existing deployment to handle application and network upgrades.

SCCP 2007 will offer an Exchange 2007 model out of the box. Microsoft plans to follow with models for SharePoint Server 2007, SharePoint Services 3.0, and System Center Operations Manager 2007. The company did not offer a road map for the release of those models, but beta versions of SharePoint Server 2007 and SharePoint Services 3.0 are available at the Microsoft Connect Web site.

Microsoft's System Center is the brand name for the company's family of management tools that are part of its Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI), a long-range plan to create a management platform for Windows.

The System Center lineup includes Configuration Manager, Operations Manager, Service Manager, Data Protection Manager, Virtual Machine Manager, Capacity Planner, and Essentials.

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