Microsoft wraps up MOM 2005 management tool

Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday said it has finished work on Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005, a major update to its MOM 2000 performance management software.

Along with MOM 2005, Microsoft also announced MOM 2005 Workgroup Edition, previously called MOM 2005 Express. This new addition to the Microsoft management product line-up was announced in March and is pitched as a less expensive product for organizations with between four and 10 servers, requiring only simple monitoring of Microsoft Windows Server environments.

The management products are part of Microsoft’s Dynamic Systems Initiative, a plan for reducing IT complexity by improving software manageability. Microsoft has repeatedly cited an Accenture Ltd. study that shows IT professionals spend up to 70 per cent of their time managing systems. The vendor aims to bring that down to 55 per cent by automating management tasks.

Microsoft has overhauled pricing and licensing for MOM with the 2005 edition. Customers can buy a license for their central server for US$729 and so-called Operations Management Licenses (OMLs) for each managed server. A five-pack of OMLs is priced at US$2,689. MOM 2005 Workgroup Edition is priced at US$499. This is estimated retail pricing, Microsoft said.

For MOM 2000, released in 2001, Microsoft offers a US$349 per processor base license for the MOM server. Managed servers also require the US$349 per processor base license plus a US$349 per processor management pack to monitor a specific server or Windows service, such as Exchange or Active Directory. With MOM 2005, management pack licenses are part of the OML.

MOM users who purchased upgrade rights can trade up their licenses. Each MOM 2000 base license and each MOM 2000 management pack license is upgradeable to either a single MOM 2005 server license or a single MOM 2005 OML, a Microsoft spokesperson said.

“On average, most of our customers have two-processor servers. Trading in two per processor licenses will net them two OMLs, which means that they will now be able to manage twice the number of servers with the same licenses as before,” the spokesperson said.

MOM 2005 and MOM 2005 Workgroup Edition should be available within six weeks, the typical time it takes to get a product to market after announcing release to manufacturing (RTM).

In addition to new features such as a graphical systems views and enhanced reporting tools, MOM 2005 has been designed to be easier to deploy than its predecessor, Microsoft said. The release will also come with updated management packs and introduce new packs designed to monitor Web services, the company has said.

“It is a dramatic improvement over MOM 2000,” said David Hamilton, director of Microsoft’s Enterprise Management division, in an interview late last month.

MOM displays information such as server up-time and reliability. The product is based on technology Microsoft licensed from NetIQ Corp. Microsoft has somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 customers for MOM, according to Hamilton.

Many third party hardware and software vendors support MOM 2005. For example, Hewlett-Packard Co. is working with Microsoft to provide a management pack to monitor HP ProLiant and Integrity servers and Veritas Software Corp. will offer a management pack that allows MOM users to monitor its Backup Exec software and check the status of back-up jobs.

Microsoft’s other main management product, Systems Management Server (SMS), is used by about 30,000 businesses worldwide, Hamilton said. Microsoft has sold SMS since 1994. The latest version, SMS 2003, was released late last year. SMS offers change and configuration management capabilities, giving users data on, for example, server inventory and patch status.

SMS and MOM next year will be offered in a bundle with a reporting server that will pull information from the two management tools in a new product called System Center 2005. Microsoft originally planned to ship System Center this year, but last month said the product slipped until the first half of 2005.

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