Microsoft changes System Center plans

Microsoft will use System Center not as the name of a software suite but as a brand for its systems management products, it plans to announce next week.

Microsoft has reversed plans to deliver a bundle of systems management products under the System Center name and instead will use that name as an overarching brand for its systems management products.

System Center, announced a year ago, was originally introduced as a bundle of Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005 and Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 with a common interface and added reporting services. Microsoft has now dropped those plans, opting instead to deliver reporting capability in a tool called System Center Reporting Manager, which is currently in beta testing. MOM and SMS will remain standalone products.

The System Center name, meanwhile, will now be used as an overarching brand name. Microsoft plans to officially announce its new System Center branding strategy at its fourth annual Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas.

The products that fall under the System Center umbrella are SMS 2003, MOM 2005, MOM 2005 Workgroup Edition, Data Protection Manager 2006 and Reporting Manager 2005, according to the Microsoft website.

Earlier this week Microsoft released a beta of System Center Data Protection Manager, a diskless back-up and recovery server that previously was called Data Protection Server. During a March Web cast, the company detailed System Center Reporting Manager, a tool that collects data from SMS and MOM 2005 for reporting purposes.

Systems management software is one of Microsoft's fastest growing businesses. The products also form a key part of the software maker's Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI), an ambitious 10-year plan to simplify management of software and hardware. Microsoft will provide more information on its now two-year-old DSI strategy next week.

The Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas started April 18 and runs to April 22. The company is also expected to provide an update on its roadmap for systems management products.

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