Microsoft’s Brad Anderson announced the availability of the Release Candidate of Microsoft System Center Advisor today in his keynote presentation at the Microsoft Management Summit 2011 in Las Vegas.
This is a new product that periodically captures configuration information about your servers (that you have added to the product), and then uploads that information to Windows Azure. The idea is to help you determine whether your servers are configured correctly and have current Service Packs and Cumulative Updates.
Here is how Microsoft describes the product:
System Center Advisor (http://www.systemcenteradvisor.com) is an online service that analyzes installations of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 (and later versions) and Windows Server 2008 (and later versions). Advisor collects data from your installations, analyzes it, and generates alerts that identify potential issues (such as missing security patches) or deviations from identified best practices with regard to configuration and usage. Advisor also provides both current and historical views of the configuration of servers in your environment.
None of your actual data will be included, just configuration information. Everything that will be sent “to the cloud” is documented, and lives in an XML file, which you can open up and inspect.
Mary Jo Foley has more information about other products that were announced at the MMS here.