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MOM Gets into .NET Management

Microsoft demonstrated Microsoft Operations Manager 2000 at Networld+Interop.

At Networld+Interop in mid-May, Microsoft demonstrated Microsoft Operations Manager 2000, the company’s event and performance management server. The software is targeted at enterprises reluctant to adopt Microsoft’s .NET technology because of its complexity to maintain. MOM’s debut was followed by a key software and services partner announcing MOM extensions.

“Management used to be a luxury,” said Cliff Reeves, a former Tivoli executive giving his first speech as Microsoft’s vice president in the Windows .NET Server product management group. “As systems scaled up, management became an absolute necessity... The real challenge is to augment the world of instrumentation...with expertise, with knowledge.”

The idea behind MOM 2000 is to automate the process of recognizing the existence of problem “events,” identifying probable causes and following a procedure to eliminate the problems.

At the announcement, Microsoft showed a live preview of MOM 2000 in action. The demo simulated multiple remote users receiving browser errors as they attempted to access an online resource. MOM identified a downed SQL Server as the source of the problems. By clicking on the event through the Microsoft Management Console, the system administrator could connect to a knowledge base displaying potential solutions.

Another demonstration showed MOM’s preemptive management features, in which the software could predict problems based on symptoms. The program tracked performance over time, watching for deteriorating trends in server activity to predict future behavior.

Administrators will also be able to set up policies with MOM, which would act as rules for server behavior.

Reeves said MOM would be released to manufacturing in June. The base license, including the server software, agent software, Windows Management Pack, reporting engine, and administration consoles, would sell for $849 per processor. Application licenses for running MOM with Exchange and SQL Server will be $949 per processor.

Tyler Well, an MCSE and network operations manager with Thyssenkrupp Elevator, said his company currently uses HP OpenView, but he still liked the idea that Microsoft was getting into the management business in a more serious way.

“[Microsoft] makes the products, so they should be the ones to manage them,” he said. Well acknowledged that his company has a fundamental reason for not adopting MOM yet—the company still runs Windows NT 4.0. “We’re primarily a Microsoft show, but we’re not a [Windows] 2000 shop...And they didn’t say it, but you have to have SMS to use MOM.” Well said his firm is still beta testing Windows 2000, but expects to deploy it to run the company’s Web servers. “But we’re not ready for Active Directory yet,” he added.

NetIQ simultaneously unveiled its plans to work the edges with MOM connectors to non-Microsoft software and greater functionality within some Microsoft software areas. NetIQ calls its connectors Extended Management Packs (XMP). The company will introduce a dozen beta XMPs this summer. XMPs for third-party products target Oracle’s RDBMS; anti-virus software from McAfee, Symantec and Trend Micro; server hardware from Compaq, Dell and Hewlett-Packard; Tivoli TME; Micromuse Netcool/OMNIbus; HP VantagePoint Operations; and NetIQ’s own AppManager. Pricing hasn’t been set.

To find out more about Microsoft Operations Manager 2000, go to www.microsoft.com/mom.

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