Microsoft Expands Management Capabilities

The company looks to bridge the divide with the open-source community through Operations Manager enhancements.

Microsoft in 2000 rolled out its Operation Manager software with the goal of bringing the same management strengths the company had in desktop environments to Windows-based data centers.

Now company officials are looking to continue expanding those capabilities to include virtualized and non-Microsoft environments.

At its Microsoft Management Summit April 29 in Las Vegas, Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Microsoft's Server and Tools Business, also will outline the company's new use of open-source technologies and industry standards.

The moves are the most recent by Microsoft to build bridges to an open-source community that doesn't always trust the large software vendor. However, in an interview with eWEEK prior to the announcement, Larry Orecklin, Microsoft's general manager for server infrastructure, said the company understands that most data center environments are heterogeneous and that customers are looking for offerings that address those wide-ranging needs.

"The No. 1 request [from customers] is to help leverage what they have with [Microsoft's] system management to non-Windows environments," Orecklin said.

Among the announcements Microsoft will make is the public beta for System Center Operations Manager 2007 Cross Platform Extensions, which will enable users to extend the management capabilities to Unix and Linux systems running HP-UX, Red hat Enterprise Linux, Sun Microsystem's Solaris and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server from Novell.

Microsoft is using such technologies as Web Services for Management and OpenPegasus to enable customers to use the management software for Windows and non-Windows physical and virtual environments, Orecklin said.

Open Partners and Virtualization Manager

Several partners, such as Novell, Quest Software and Xandros are creating plug-ins into the Microsoft management suite to create management packs for applications created by such organizations as Apache Software Foundation, MySQL and Oracle.

In addition, Microsoft is rolling out a beta of its System Center Operations 2007 Connectors, which are based on the same open-source technology as the Cross Platform Extensions, Orecklin said.

Muglia also is announcing that Microsoft is joining the OpenPegasus Steering Committee and contributing code to the open-source community via the Microsoft Public License.

The company also launched the public beta of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, which will give users a way to centrally manage their virtualized environments running the company's upcoming Hyper-V virtualization technology, Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 or VMware's ESX Server.

Support for virtualized environments based on the open-source Xen hypervisor technology from such companies as Citrix will come later, Orecklin said.

The virtualization technology, through its integration with Operations Manager 2007, offers a new feature called PRO (Performance and Resource Optimization), which helps guide users by outlining ways to more efficiently deploy and run both physical and virtual resources.

It also gives users a consistent set of tools for managing their physical and virtual data center and desktop environments, he said.

Such companies as Dell, EMC, Brocade, Hewlett-Packard and QLogic are announcing their intentions to create management packs with their products that will support PRO.