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MOM 2005 Enters Final Beta

LAS VEGAS -- Microsoft demonstrated features of the new Microsoft Operations Manager 2005, which entered its final beta stage on Tuesday, and unveiled a new version called MOM 2005 Express that is aimed at smaller and medium-sized businesses.

The announcements came on Tuesday during Microsoft Windows Division senior vice president Bob Muglia's opening keynote at the Microsoft Management Summit.

Prior to Tuesday, the second generation version of Microsoft's management tool for monitoring IT operations had gone by the name MOM 2004. Microsoft officials say despite the name change, the product remains on track for a calendar year 2004 release.

Changing the name to 2005 puts MOM in line with a wave of products that have assumed the 2005 name in the last two weeks, including SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005, Virtual Server 2005 and System Center 2005. In any event, the beta is the third for MOM 2005. The first beta came at the end of last year, and a second beta hit early this year.

Setting up a demonstration of MOM 2005, Muglia said, "The interface is designed to be very easy to use. When you see the interface, it will look very familiar to you."

In fact, when a Microsoft group product manager, Bill Anderson, did demonstrate the interface, it was nearly indistinguishable from Outlook 2003, with a three-pane display. The middle pane in the demonstration showed a map of the East Coast of the United States with a clean-looking graphical representation of the distribution of servers at a fictional company.

Anderson used the fictional company's servers to demonstrate some of the tight integration of MOM 2005 with other pieces of the Microsoft infrastructure. Anderson launched a canned report from within MOM called "Candidates for Virtualization," which showed the CPU and memory utilization of several servers. The report showed several servers in the fictional company's Florida office were running at very low utilization.

In a powerful demonstration, Anderson showed how Microsoft is building much better automation into MOM 2005. "I used to be an IT pro," Anderson joked. "It wasn't worth doing if I had to leave my coffee and donuts." That said, Anderson clicked a few options and MOM 2005 coordinated with Windows Server 2003 Automated Deployment Services and Virtual Server 2005 to move several servers into one virtual cluster.

Eric Berg, a Microsoft group product manager for Windows Server, said that Virtual Server 2005, built from technology Microsoft acquired from Connectix and slated to ship later this year, will support being used in that way through a MOM management pack that Microsoft is preparing for the product. A new and slightly modified version of Windows Server 2003 Automated Deployment Services will also need to be released before customers could really use MOM 2005 in the way it was demonstrated on Tuesday. "[The new version of ADS] should be out relatively soon," Berg said.

The new MOM Express product was also released to beta on Tuesday. It is also expected to ship later this year. "It's designed for smaller organizations," Muglia said. "It will be very full-functioned, but it won't manage hundreds or thousands of servers. And we'll price it appropriately for a (medium-sized) business."

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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