Microsoft updates management tool

Microsoft Corp. Monday released the first service pack and a set of enhancements for its event and performance monitoring tool as it continues its long and convoluted effort to create an enterprise-worthy management platform for the Windows environment.

Microsoft Operations Manager 2000 (MOM) was fitted with a service pack that includes bug fixes and features to ease deployment and administration. Microsoft also shipped three new Management Packs, ready-to-use software tuned for specific Windows applications and servers. The new packs cover the .Net Framework, network load balancing and clustering.

Microsoft also shipped a second version of the MOM software developers kit (SDK 2) that allows developers to tie applications into the data collected by MOM and integrate the platform with help desk and service desk trouble tickets. The enhancements also included a resource kit that aids the performance of MOM.

The MOM improvements are but one part of a larger effort by Microsoft to craft a management platform for Windows based on a foundation of MOM, Systems Management Server and Application Center server. The company also plans to incorporate BizTalk Server, SharePoint Portal Server, Microsoft Message Queuing and Active Directory into its management platform as it hopes to move from managing individual products to managing "services" under its .Net platform.

Microsoft also has adopted the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), a set of best practices for IT services management.

Experts say Microsoft must add enterprise-class management features such as root-cause analysis, predictive analysis and capacity planning if it wants to satisfy corporate demands.

Microsoft is keenly interested in management because it is a key demand from large enterprise customers and because Gartner predicts the market will to grow $6.6 billion in revenue by 2005.

A Microsoft spokesman says the MOM additions are a precursor to announcements that Microsoft plans to make at its Management Summit in March, which could include the next version of MOM. The spokesman would not provide any details.

Microsoft has said the operating system will be the linchpin for its management platform, which will allow "modules" such as MOM to plug into the operating system using APIs such as Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), XML and the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP).

WMI allows system and network devices to be configured and managed, and is based on the Web-Based Enterprise Management initiative, which uses the Common Information Model (CIM) to describe management information. XML and SOAP will provide a standard way to exchange and share data.

In conjunction with Microsoft's announcement, NetIQ said later this month it would release its Extended Management Pack 1.1, which includes 23 XMPs for more than 35 applications, platforms and third-party management products. Microsoft originally licensed the base code of MOM from NetIQ in October 2000. The XMP 1.1 product extends MOM to such platforms as Unix, Linux and NetWare; non-Microsoft applications such as Oracle databases; and to other management products such as those from Micromuse, Netcool and Tivoli through a set of APIs.

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