Microsoft lines up Operations Manager update

Better integration

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

While the forthcoming 2003 update to Microsoft Corp's Systems Management Server (SMS) grabs all the attention, the desktop management product's Operations Manager cousin, MOM, is also in line for a refresh.

Microsoft Operations Manager Service Pack 1 is currently in beta and is expected to ship in January 2003. According to Martin Dey, Microsoft's senior product manager for the Windows management group, MOM SP1 features significant enhancements to the software developer's kit to make it easier to integrate into other existing systems management tools via a richer set of interfaces.

The new version will also offer support for the management of clustering Microsoft's own SQL Server database management system and features rules enhancements to bring it in line with the forthcoming release of Windows .NET Server 2003.

While MOM could be seen as competing with the wider systems management products from Computer Associates Inc and IBM Corp's Tivoli, the company is focusing its skills and development on managing its own products. Hence the importance of increasing MOM's integration with products from the larger systems management software vendors.

"We do believe that we are the best people to manage Windows because we wrote the code and we know how it works," said Dey. "By integration into another management solution perhaps the customer gets the best of both worlds. MOM is in a highly extensible space, not one that's owned by us."

Although the first refresh of MOM in the works, it is the progress of the much-delayed SMS 2003 that is currently getting most of the attention. SMS 2003 finally went into beta in October 2002, a year late, and remains in beta testing at this stage.

A major enhancement on SMS 2.0, SMS 2003 features tighter integration with Windows 2000 Active Directory, as well as support for the management of remote devices. SMS 2.0 customers eagerly awaiting the opportunity to tie down the management of mobile and remote devices still have a wait, however.

Dey said that Microsoft is expecting to start to receive feedback from the SMS 2003 beta program in the next couple of weeks, and that a general availability date for the product would be scheduled based on that feedback. Meanwhile, the Mobile Feature Pack will not enter beta testing until SMS 2003 is generally available.

This is being done to ensure that the mobile management functionality can be tested by customers in real work environments, said Dey. The mobile extensions to SMS 2003 are not then expected to be generally available for 90 to 120 days after the general release of SMS 2003.

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