RealTime IT News

Microsoft Bolsters Management Software

Microsoft officials unveiled the next step of the company's software management strategy to help them better compete with rivals IBM, HP and Computer Associates.

The Redmond, Wash. software giant's Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI), which was the story at the Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas, is an effort to provide a platform to reduce complexity and time-consuming routines by automating the deployment of new applications and updating existing Microsoft systems.

Company officials say they can reduce these efforts, normally handled by an IT staff, by 55 percent.

Companies in the DSI include Dell , Computer Associates , Hewlett-Packard , Fujitsu-Siemens Software and NEC.

Microsoft's version of software management is just one in an industry that has many competing platforms, namely IBM's Tivoli, HP's OpenView and Computer Associate's Unicenter.

However, said Bob Muglia, Windows Server Division senior vice president, the industry has not delivered on what it has promised.

"This is an issue where the industry has overpromised and underdelivered while our enterprise customers continue to feel the pain of managing their systems," Muglia said in a statement.

Microsoft has parts of DSI on the marketplace, including Windows Server 2003, Systems Management Server 2003 and Software Update Services, all of which are designed to monitor the applications and processes in the enterprise.

Taking it a step further, the company is launching new products to flesh out its DSI: Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 (with a scaled down Express version), System Center 2005 and Systems Management Server 2003 Feature Packs. Updates include feature packs for SMS 2003 and Windows Update Services, an extension to the Software Updates Service.

All fall under the umbrella of Microsoft's DSI platform, launched in Las Vegas at last year's summit.

All upgrades and products are in one stage of beta testing or another. MOM 2005, an upgrade from MOM 2004, entered the final beta cycle Tuesday.

The software monitors and helps correct network problems before they become a nuisance, with management packs specific to Microsoft applications -- Active Directory, Exchange, Outlook and SQL Server. A scaled-down version that only monitors performance, MOM 2005 Express, entered initial beta testing Tuesday.

Also debuting are two feature packs for Systems Management Server 2003, one that addresses the software management of mobile devices running Windows CE, Pocket PC and Smartphone, and another for provisioning new network members.

System Center 2005, a management suite that ties together MOM, Windows Server System and Systems Management Center 2003, went into beta testing Tuesday, as well.

As a whole, the software suite gives IT managers a top-down view of a network's configuration and performance, where its running slow and what can be improved.