Although significant improvements have been made in the setup and operation of MOM 2005, IT managers will still need to devote significant resources to training MOM 2005 operators, as the new Maintenance mode shows. After we installed WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) add-ons, special code that makes performance information available to management tools, we chose to restart several servers to ensure the add-ons would start. MOM 2005 alerted us when the servers with WMI add-ons went down, but it did not clear the alert when the systems came back online. Only later, after spending a significant amount of time with the product, did we learn that we could have flagged these servers as being in Maintenance mode. When we used Maintenance mode in subsequent testing, MOM 2005 did not display the system-down alert after the system was restarted.Because there are many other hard-to-decipher features, such as the new Maintenance mode, in MOM 2005, we recommend that IT managers reserve at least as much training time for upgrading to MOM 2005 as they would for installing an entirely new product.For the first time ever, Microsoft is following Computer Associates lead in employing diagrams as well as text logs to indicate problems with monitored systems. We used the diagrams, which are based on Microsofts Visio diagramming tool, to get a somewhat-useful graphical representation of which systems needed attention during our tests. However, were glad Microsoft didnt spend a lot of time working the diagrams into the product, because we believe log files that use simple, color-coded icons are far more effective at helping IT staff quickly identify problem systems. Once in the alerts section of the Operator Console, we could manage the state of each problem noted in our systems. For example, when the Active Directory management pack reported a replication problem, we simply right-clicked on the notice and assigned a high priority to the problem. We were able to track the resolution process in the console as MOM 2005 worked on the problem. Most of the time, we used the Operator Console to look at alerts and events as they occurred in the test network, but there is also a new State view, which consolidates events. The State view made it easy for us to get a quick snapshot of the overall state of our systems. IT managers could use the State option to provide senior executives with a concise overview of system health. Even MOM 2005 operators may find it handy to start off looking at the State view before digging into alerts. Labs Technical Director Cameron Sturdevant is at email@example.com. Check out eWEEK.coms Windows Center at http://windows.eweek.com for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.