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MS and F5 Ink Operations Manager Deal

Microsoft and F5 Networks announced Tuesday they have signed an OEM deal that will put Redmond’s System Center Operations Manager 2007 on F5’s management appliances.

The announcement comes just two weeks before the annual Microsoft Management Summit (MMS).

Under the terms of the agreement, F5 will incorporate System Center Operations Manager 2007 management software into its own F5 management appliance for application visibility. Seattle-based F5’s new product, dubbed ControlPoint, will collect, analyze and report data from F5’s non-Windows application optimization, availability and security devices, the companies said in a joint statement.

Scheduled to be available at the end of the year, ControlPoint will integrate Operations Manager 2007 using F5’s iControl application programming interface. The aim is to provide a centralized, easy-to-use tool for network administrators, application architects and developers, as well as business personnel, to help them gauge the performance of all F5 devices in their application delivery networks. The companies predict that the benefits of the bundle will include improved capacity planning, automatic responses to network events, and quicker diagnosis of problems.

“It is also important to call out that this is the first time Microsoft has granted an OEM license to the Microsoft System Center Operations Manager platform,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mail. “The F5 platform will strategically extend Microsoft’s initiative, especially in helping to manage non-Windows devices helping Microsoft to deliver its end-to-end IT services.”

F5’s ControlPoint will provide a single console that will present graphical views of all F5 devices in the network and show their interworking relationships. It also will report real-time performance and capacity data of those devices and the applications running over them, according to F5 statements. Using automated scripting, ControlPoint will be able to execute dynamic tasks based on operating conditions of an application or the network, and then maintain a history of those actions. For example, should it detect an application slowdown, ControlPoint can be set to automatically accelerate the application to maintain performance and avoid disrupting end users.

In addition, by taking advantage of the Windows PowerShell scripting language, customers will be able to quickly automate common tasks on F5 devices through the iControl interface.

Microsoft’s System Center Operations Manager 2007 is scheduled to ship this month.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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