I was not at the TechEd 2013 conference but I’ve watched closely like you. And based on what I’ve seen so far with announcement and TechEd videos from Channel 9 (I haven’t watched them all) there are some conclusions that can be made.
Certainly this is a big change for both Windows Server teams and System Center teams. Such big synchronization in work for so many teams can be beneficial but also very hard to achieve and because of that I expect some challenges to be met. On TechEd the focus was primary on Windows Server 2012 R2 and the times where System Center 2012 R2 was mentioned was because of SCVMM or Windows Azure Pack. All the new features that were shown are in SCVMM and Windows Azure Pack (WAP) and WAP is not even System Center component but it seems it is more related to System Center than to Windows Server. But why only VMM is announced with new features? The answer is actually very simple and I am sure you have found it even earlier. Windows Server released a major release last in year in September. They were even ready in August. System Center teams released 2012 SP1 at the beginning of the year in January. The release was ready in December but actually UR1 which was much needed was released also in January. So simply said System Center teams had less time to introduced new feature in the new R2 release. In this R2 release for Windows Server and System Center teams the second ones are followers. And do not get me wrong this is normal. The real benefits of this release will actually come in the next big release for Server and System Center. Showing only SCVMM at TechEd probably means that the other System Center components are not ready to be publically shown and probably there are not so many new features that will be announced for them. But that does not mean that these teams are just not working. Than what to expect from these other System Center components? For some of the components there might one or two new feature that could be announced, there will be definitely enhancement in the integration between the components like SCCM and SCOM supporting the same Linux operating Systems, SPF interacting better with System Center components. I also expect performance and scalability features (probably in the SCSM space), some new activates in Orchestrator and new integration packs. Based on these conclusions you can see one of the reason why Microsoft didn’t put these components in front at TechEd. Performance and scalability features usually do not WOW the audience at a conference.But I think that taking in consideration the short period for development System Center specialist would certainly would appreciate these features. At least I would. May be at TechEd Europe we will see more announcement when Preview versions of the products are expected to be released for download.
P.S. Now that it seems more likely that MMS will not be continued as event I just hope that next year we will see equal sessions for System Center and Windows Server at TechEd 2014 North America which was announced to take place between May 12 and May 15 2014.