Microsoft Moves Toward Integrated Management

With the release to manufacturing of its Microsoft Operations Manager 2005, the company takes another step toward an integrated suite that also would include Systems Management Server 2003 and the new System Center Reporting Server.

Microsoft Corp., via its Dynamic Systems Initiative, is arming its server management tools with improved customized application modules. But the companys ultimate goal is to offer an integrated management suite early next year.

The new Microsoft Operations Manager 2005, released to manufacturing last week after four years in development, makes heavy use of so-called management packs, which bring developers intimate knowledge of how applications work to bear in troubleshooting problems, according to David Hamilton, director of Microsofts Windows and Enterprise Management Division, in Redmond, Wash. MOM 2005 also delivers improved consoles and reporting that ease deployment and use, Hamilton said.

Early users are giving MOM 2005 decent marks, citing the tools increased use of management packs created by application developers.

"The management packs coming from the product groups are much more targeted at what problem areas might be," said MOM 2005 beta tester Paul Wimmer, senior systems developer at Rackspace Managed Hosting, in San Antonio.

"When management packs came from the MOM group, those rules tended to be noisy and not relevant to an operating environment.

"The IIS [Internet Information Services] and SQL Server management packs have been a really great place to start to check the health of those servers and to look at common problems they might have."

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more about the release to manufacturing of MOM 2005.

Microsoft also simplified the user interface in MOM 2005, providing separate consoles for operators and server administrators.

The improved knowledge and prescriptive data provided in the management packs—coupled with usability enhancements—make it possible to solve more problems at the help desk, said beta user Shai Ofek.

"Well expose the operators console to the help desk," said Ofek, lead systems engineer in the distributed systems group at Japan Research Institute of America, a subsidiary of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., in New York. "[Help desk attendants] can go into the knowledge base and say, This is the problem Im seeing. They can be empowered to go and fix it."

The success of the new MOM is a key to Microsofts plans to unveil next year an integrated management suite made up of MOM 2005, Systems Management Server 2003 and the new System Center Reporting Server, said Hamilton.

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