Microsoft is working to expand its Systems Center management umbrella with a new Systems Center Service Desk offering intended to streamline IT service management for Windows environments.
The new offering is "designed to provide an ERP system for IT. It holds all the processes and change control logic into one cohesive thing," said Muglia.
The service desk is based on IT Infrastructure Library best practices, and codes the prescriptive guidance that Microsoft has as a part of its Microsoft Operations Framework into the software itself.
"It will integrate deeply with other Systems Center products and extend out to the heterogeneous world," he said.
The offering also includes a portal for users that IT administrators can use to display status information on problems it is working to resolve.
The idea is to help cut down on the number of support calls the service desk must handle.
Muglia in his presentation also provided a quick peek into a new virtualization manager that Microsoft is working on code-named Carmine.
The offering, which has not yet entered beta testing, will provide the ability to manage software images in a virtual environment.
"Theres multiple levels to managing virtual images, and Im not sure how far Carmine goes to address that," said industry analyst Rich Ptak of Ptak, Noel & Associates in Amherst, N.H.
"Managing images is just the start. You also have to think about provisioning, and thinking strategically how much of your work you want to allocate to each image," he said.
But Ptak and analyst Peter Christy say they agree that virtualization will eventually become a commodity and that any timing advantage market leader EMCs VMware has may not last.
"The money to be made is in good management of the environment. VMware will have a substantial business when Microsoft gets out there," said Christy, principal at NetsEdge Research in Los Altos, Calif.
Microsofts Hypervisor virtualization is expected in the Windows Longhorn release thats due in late 2007.
Muglia also highlighted Microsofts work on its MONAD scripting environment, dubbed Windows PowerShell, which will be released later in 2006.
It automates scripting and allows administrators to "run powerful scripts in advanced ways," said Muglia.
PowerShell, an object-oriented scripting language, allows administrators to easily link multiple scripts together to perform a function.
Exchange 2007 and a new version of Microsoft Operations Manager will be the first two products to exploit it.
Microsofts well-known Systems Management Server and MOM brands will change to make for more consistent product names under the Systems Center Umbrella.
SMS will become System Center Configuration Manager, and MOM will become Systems Center Operations Manager in new 2007 releases.