Microsoft Redraws IT Software Management Roadmap

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-03-16

Microsoft Redraws IT Software Management Roadmap

LAS VEGAS—Microsoft Corp. executives on Tuesday spent a lot of time talking up the Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI), which is the companys vision and technology roadmap for reducing the cost of managing and securing enterprise systems.

Bob Muglia, the senior vice president of Microsofts Windows Server Division, told the hundreds of delegates at its annual Microsoft Management Summit here on Tuesday that management was at the center of everything it did, and that the Redmond, Wash. software firm was committed to making management an intrinsic capability built in across its platform and solutions.

Microsofts goal was to make applications that were designed for operations, to provide an operationally aware platform, and deliver a set of tools built on top of that, which would help customers manage their business more effectively, Muglia said in his keynote address.

While the software industry was still growing, it had a lot to learn from more mature industries like manufacturing. "Take the automotive industry, which spent a lot of money on automating its back-end systems, but that did not work out quite the way they wanted as costs were not reduced that much and quality was not improved. The lesson learned was that they had to focus on the entire process," he said.

"Microsoft can now bring automated tools to our customers. DSI is about how we can create a set of tools that allow you to create applications quickly and operate your systems at scale," he said.

The complexity of the IT environment today was greater than ever before because solutions were distributed across multiple machines in multiple environments and locations. So Microsofts goal was to make the management of these more simple, Muglia said.

eWEEK Labs recently took a look at the current state of Microsofts Dynamic Systems Initiative. Click here to read the analysis.

"It is important to know that these challenges span the entire IT lifecycle. DSI is all about providing a programmed systematic environment and how knowledge and information is passed between systems," Muglia said, adding that the last year had been a "super year" for Microsoft in the management space.

"IT is now more important than it has ever been in the enterprise and we are committed to helping you do more with less," he said.

Core to DSI was the System Definition Model, an XML document that describes the components and application relationships that exist between them. "This is now created and captured as a natural part of the development process and then sent on to the operational level," Muglia said.

"The other component for us is looking at what end-users are experiencing with their applications every day and then getting this feedback to the development and operational teams. Microsoft created tools around this that it shipped with products, tools like Watson, which sits in the system and notices when an application fails. It then takes a snapshot that sends data back to Microsoft about this failure," he said.

Microsoft had found that a small percentage of bugs accounted for the majority of problems its customers had. "This means that we can focus on solving those problems that impact our customers the most. We can build more quality software earlier because of this," he said.

Microsoft last week held a DSI design preview in Mountain View, Calif., where it distributed the SDM preview specifications and software, Muglia added that this initiative was about more than Microsoft, which would thus be working with its industry partners in this regard and to make the delivery and vision of DSI successful.

Turning to Windows Server System, a core component of DSI, Muglia said this system had three initiatives or components: DSI, security and the .Net platform, which played a pivotal role between DSI and security.

Critical to the DSI was Windows Server 2003, which had already seen sales double that of Windows Server 2000 over the first nine months since shipping. Microsoft had also received more requests for evaluation units than for any other Windows release, he said.

Virtual Server 2005, currently in beta, was also an important component of the DSI scenario. Virtual Server was the most cost effective virtual machine solution for Windows Server 2003 and would deliver increased operational efficiency for software testing and development as well as migration and consolidation.

Next Page: DSI Takes On Security and Updates

DSI Takes On Security

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Muglia also made a number of product announcements that he said would improve the manageability and security of the Windows Server System, including the release of the first limited beta for Windows Update Services, a core component of its patch and update management strategy and an evolution of the Software Update Services 1.0. A broader beta would be rolled out later this summer, Muglia told attendees.

Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005 was also entering its final beta cycle today. The product, which would be available later this year, would include support for business activity monitoring and Web Services monitoring.

Muglia also announced the release to beta of MOM 2005 Express, expected to be available later this year, and which is a low-cost solution for those companies needing simple monitoring capabilities for Windows Server System.

Also going to beta was System Center 2005, Microsofts first integrated management suite for Windows Server System, which includes System Management Server 2003, MOM 2005 and a new common reporting system.

Lastly, Muglia talked about the operating system deployment and device management feature packs for SMS 2003. The device management feature pack, which enters beta today, allows SMS 2003 to manage Windows-based devices running Windows CE, PocketPC and Smartphone software. The OS deployment pack lets SMS deliver bare-metal provisioning of desktops for IT professionals.

Turning to security, Muglia said this was a huge area of investment within Microsoft. Over the next 12 to 18 months, the things coming out of Microsoft and from its partners would change the way virus attacks happened and how they affected its users, who would be given the tools they needed to deal more effectively and quickly with these events.

"The security threat is not going to go away. Hack attacks will also continue and companies will continue to be targeted in this regard. We are looking at the tools we can provide you to deal with this. Getting security fixes out is key to this, and that is where the Windows Update Services comes into play," he said.

Ending his keynote with a DSI roadmap, Muglia said that in 2003 customers saw SMS 2003, and in 2004 they would see the Windows Update Services, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, MOM 2005, System Center 2005, the Visual Studio 2005 beta.

"Going beyond even that, we will have System Center Version 2, Longhorn [the next version of Windows] and the next version of Visual Studio. DSI will reduce costs and deliver real business value, a management strategy spanning the entire Windows Server System and the enterprise, delivering value today through WS 2003 and SMS 2003.

"It has been a great year. We havent always had great management years at Microsoft, but this was and we look forward to this year being an even better one," Muglia concluded.

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