The next major release of Microsofts server management software, four years in the making, continues to build on the goal of reducing software cost and operational complexity by making intrinsic in the management software the knowledge of how the managed systems software and applications work.
Toward that end, MOM 2005 includes 20 new Microsoft Management Packs that encapsulate intimate knowledge about how specific applications should work, according to David Hamilton, director of the Windows and Enterprise Management Division in Redmond, Wash.
The Microsoft Exchange 2003 management pack, for example, "understands every possible error message it could generate and why that will come about," Hamilton said.
"MOM through the management pack interprets error messages and suggests a possible course of action. It understands the problems that occur, solutions to those, and has reports and analysis tools to predict problems before they occur," he said.
The new management packs bring Microsofts total to about 50, and 16 third-party vendors have released or are close to releasing new management packs. Among those are Hewlett-Packard Co. with an updated management pack for its server hardware, Dell Inc. for its hardware, as well as Veritas Software Corp. and Seibel Systems Inc. for their software. Hamilton estimated that about 80 management packs are available from 20 partners.
At the same time, Microsoft addressed the midmarket with a scaled-down version of MOM 2005, dubbed MOM 2005 Workgroup Edition. The new Workgroup Edition, code named MOM Express, manages as many as 10 servers and emphasizes real-time information rather than historical reporting and analysis. It does not include MOM 2005s server discovery and mapping capability or multitiering of management servers.
Microsoft also made MOM 2005 easier to deploy and use. It can be deployed in hours instead of months, thanks to new wizards and configuration checkers to guide operators through deployments, according to Hamilton. It also includes a Microsoft Outlook-style graphical interface and provides different console interfaces for different user roles.
The other pillar of Microsofts management offerings—Systems Management Server 2003—will see enhancements by the end of the year that allow users to remotely deploy operating systems on "bare metal" systems and extend SMS management to handheld devices such as the PocketPC.
Also in the works is the new System Center Reporting Server, a new data warehouse with a reporting engine that will allow operators to create higher-level reports based on data gathered from both SMS 2003 and MOM 2005. The new reporting server, due in the first half of next year, will be the first component of a planned management suite that initially will comprise SMS 2003, MOM 2005 and the reporting server.
MOM 2005 Workgroup Edition is $499; MOM 2005 is priced at $729 for the management server license and $2,689 for a license to manage as many as five servers.