Microsoft introduces operations management app

Microsoft Corp. last week gave users of its Systems Management Server (SMS) a good look at forthcoming features of that product as well as an in-depth tutorial on a new operations management application due in beta form within weeks.

At the SMS & Windows 2000 User Conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft unveiled its first entry into the operations management space with Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2000, an application that monitors the performance and availability of servers and applications, such as Windows 2000 Server and the Microsoft .NET Enterprise Server line of applications.

MOM, which is based on technology licensed from partner company NetIQ Corp., offers a set of tools for event collection, performance monitoring, and reporting.

Features of MOM include automatic discovery and deployment of managed nodes, automated alerts, and the ability to generate responses via rules. Enterprises also can set up customized alerts by adding in their own company-specific information to the application, said Wally Mead, program manager at Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft.

To extract the correct data for monitoring and reporting, the MOM application leverages modules called Management Packs. The modules, which sit on top of the application, are designed to work with specific systems. For example, the base Management Pack includes support for Windows 2000 and Active Directory, Internet Information Server, and Windows 2000 Terminal Services. The Application Pack supports Exchange, SQL Server, Site Server, and Proxy Server.

Microsoft developers felt a specific product designed to address monitoring and performance analysis was needed in addition to the SMS product. MOM and SMS target different scopes of management and are designed to complement one another, Mead said.

Another hot topic at the show was the forthcoming version of SMS, code-named Topaz. New features in Topaz, due out in beta this summer, include support for mobile users, enhanced functionality with Active Directory, and a new software metering client.

One conference attendee said his company just recently began deployment of Microsoft’s SMS 2.0 and is signing up to beta test Topaz.

“We need a solution to manage all of our desktops and systems. We have some management in place, but it is done by multiple products, so we are really looking to consolidate that under one overall management system,” said Brian Dorsey, infrastructure specialist at Towers Perrin, a benefits administration consulting company in Philadelphia. “Topaz looks like it will be really good – a real improvement over what they have now.”

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