Microsoft Revamps Its Systems-Management Roadmap

Microsoft is juggling a number of existing products and blueprints, integrating some, and phasing out others, in creating its next-gen lineup. Redmond plans to phase out Application Center, bet on 'Yukon' for its new Systems Center suite.

Microsoft will lay out on Tuesday its systems-management roadmap for 1,500 IT executives attending the companys second annual Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas.

Microsoft is juggling a number of existing products and blueprints, integrating some, and phasing out others, in creating its next-gen lineup.

At the conference this week, Microsoft will talk up its Systems Management Server 2003 product, code-named Topaz, which is due to ship in September. It also will unveil a complementary new product, its Microsoft Operations Management (MOM) 2004 release, and demo an early version of the forthcoming product.

Microsoft plans to continue to offer each of these products as standalone options, going forward, says David Hamilton, director of Microsofts recently renamed enterprise management division. But the company also is planning to offer customers a tightly integrated bundle of SMS 2003 and MOM 2004, which it will call "System Center."

System Center will go beta some time in the first half of next year, and ship in the summer of 2004, Hamilton says. In addition to including SMS 2003 and MOM 2004, System Center also will include support for Microsofts recently unveiled Dyanmic Systems Initiative, its autonomic computing infrastructure. DSI is aimed at making Windows and Windows-based applications more self-configurable and –manageable.

Get More DSI Dish Here

MOM 2004 will provide customers with better network tuning and analysis tools; a new task-based graphical-user interface, a new reporting engine and a built-in data-warehousing engine. That engine will be the one that is in Microsofts next release of SQL Server, code-named "Yukon," Hamilton says.

"Our goal is to get more data out of MOM," Hamilton explains. "Users will be able to generate one report that will include information from both SMS and MOM that will give you a single view of the health of your servers."

While Microsoft will be busily integrating, it also will be retiring gradually its Application Center product, Hamilton confirms. Application Center provides load balancing, Web application monitoring and Web application configuration. Microsofts plan is to continue to sell and support Application Center, but release no additional future versions of the product, Hamilton says. Microsoft plans to integrate all of Application Centers functionality into System Center and Blackcomb, the Windows server release expected around 2006.

Hamilton also commented a bit on Microsofts recent decision to move his division (formerly known as the management business group) under Senior VP Bob Muglia. Hamilton says the move had less to do with any near-term synergies in Microsofts enterprise storage and enterprise management technologies than it did with Microsoft wanting to give 15-year Microsoft veteran Muglia more responsibilities.