RealTime IT News

Microsoft And The 'Mom' of Management

Microsoft has its sights set on the next generation of management software as it seeks to be a leader in applications that care for computer systems.

The software power is heading toward service-oriented monitoring, which allows administrators to set policies on services they want to offer their end users, said Kirill Tatarinov, corporate vice president for enterprise management at Microsoft.

Service-oriented monitoring builds on the company's plans for service-oriented architecture (SOA) , in which distributed computing systems are crafted to help companies save money by connecting applications together and reusing assets such as software code.

SOAs, and by extension, service-oriented monitoring, could create great efficiencies for users.

"You don't have to be a developer to do it, and then monitor that service exactly the way it's delivered to end users, not just individual servers or components but the service top to bottom," Tatarinov said.

The executive spoke at the Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas, where he and other company officials unfurled the next few legs of its roadmap for its Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI) for computer management.

Set in three "waves" through 2009, DSI is a Herculean effort to make sure the machines run well at a lower cost than products from rivals like IBM, HP and Computer Associates.

Two of Microsoft's key offerings under DSI include a performance management application called Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) and a configuration component called Systems Management Server (SMS), both of which fall under a brand the company simply calls System Center.

System Center was originally intended as a lump-sum product consisting of MOM and SMS but the company opted to keep the products separate based on customer feedback. So, instead of having to buy both MOM and SMS, customers can choose one or the other.

"The feedback that we received from you is that you would like to get technology that is integrated but yet modular, enabling you to preserve your investment in existing products such as MOM and SMS," Tatarinov said.

Looking forward, Tatarinov said the next generation of its MOM, code-named version 3, will have something the company is internally calling a "do-it" button. This feature lets users update their licensed software with a service pack at one click of the mouse to make the task of improving the product easier.

The executive said MOM version 3 will come to market around the time the next-generation Longhorn platform appears in roughly 2006.

The model-based service-oriented approach will also take shape in System Management Server version 4, which Tatarinov said will lets users do speedy, precise configuration management.

"Basically through using models you will be able to express desired configuration of your environment and then using SMS version 4 you will be able to keep your environment in that desired state," he said.

New products round out System Center as it currently stands. System Center Reporting Manager, which will beta in two weeks, is an application that integrates data from MOM, SMS and Active Directory, providing a high measure of business intelligence. Announced as a beta last week, System Center Data Protection Manager signals Redmond's entry into data backup and recovery.

Tatarinov also announced System Center Capacity Manager 2006, code-named Indy. This software will allow customers to do predictive planning of Microsoft Exchange environments, predicting future bottlenecks before deployment. Microsoft provided this product for free to partners on CDs at the show, as a fully operational Community Technical Preview.