Microsoft Ups Management Ante

Microsoft will weigh in on utility computing with a series of improvements to automated and embedded features in its management tools.

Microsoft Corp. this week will weigh in on utility computing with a series of improvements to automated and embedded features in its management tools.

At its second annual Microsoft Management Summit, the Redmond, Wash., software maker will demonstrate its DSI (Dynamic Systems Initiative), led by the Windows Server group. Microsoft officials said they hope the companys enhancements will help overcome developers resistance to building instrumentation into their own code.

DSI is built around a new system architecture that incorporates its own management infrastructure, according to officials. DSI embeds automated configuration management in various components of the computing infrastructure, including operating systems, applications and services.

The centerpiece of that architecture, SDM (System Definition Model), is an embedded configuration management database that automatically updates changes, configurations and relationships among infrastructure elements such as servers, databases and applications, according to Corey Ferengul, an analyst at Meta Group Inc., in Chicago, who was briefed on the new architecture.

"To do root-cause analysis, to do virtualization or automated provisioning, you have to understand very detailed configurations. Its very tough for customers to do. You need a tight list of the configurations and all the relationships," Ferengul said.

"Its a mechanism that lets you build information into an application that lets it be deployed, configured, operated and retired. The full life cycle," said David Hamilton, director of Microsofts Enterprise Management Division. Besides configuration, SDM is intended to make applications "operationally aware," so they can monitor their own processes, Hamilton said.

The new SDM uses XML as its data store and uses Simple Object Access Protocol over HTTP to track and communicate changes, according to Ferengul.

On tap at Microsoft Management Summit

  • New architecture for easily instrumenting systems and applications during development
  • ADS for automating operating system installations
  • Follow-up feature packs for SMS 2003
  • Preview of the next release of MOM
SDM will be tightly linked with Microsofts Visual Studio to make sure that the code developers write is manageable.

Microsoft will encourage its own developers—as well as third-party application and tool providers—to employ SDM.

Future releases of SMS (Systems Management Server) and MOM (Microsoft Operations Manager) will leverage SMD to make it easy to tie into the management environment, according to Microsofts Hamilton.

Microsoft will also detail at the summit its new ADS (Automated Deployment Services) tool, which allows operating systems to be automatically installed on so-called bare-metal systems.

It will initially target servers, making its debut later this year on Windows Server 2003.

Additional reporting by Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft Watch.

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