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System Center: It's Not Just for Windows Anymore

If you're one of those vendors that make extensions for Systems Center so that the Microsoft management suite can monitor more than just Windows, you'll have some new competition soon...from Microsoft.

System Center isn't just for Windows anymore, Microsoft revealed this week. By the second quarter of next year -- yes, that's a year from now, when Operations Manager SP1 comes out -- it'll manage Linux and Unix environments, as well as VMware's ESX Server virtualization application. It'll also interoperate with other management platforms such as HP's OpenView and IBM's Tivoli suite. The forthcoming management extensions are available in beta now.

"We believe that customers want System Center to be their enterprise console," Larry Orecklin, general manager of server infrastructure marketing at Microsoft, told RCPU in a recent phone chat. "It absolutely was driven by customers -- more and more, System Center has become the standard for managing Windows environments. Customers really liked the ease of use, the knowledge out of the box and what they were able to do in a cost-effective way. It's been the No. 1 request to take advantage of those capabilities people have developed in managing Windows and expand that to the rest of their infrastructure."

There's also a bit of an open source angle here, as Microsoft is using open source network management protocols Web Services for Management and OpenPegasus to develop its Linux and Unix management capabilities. Redmond also has a seat on the OpenPegasus steering committee, Orecklin said. He said that Microsoft's OpenPegasus participation is one of a growing number of signs that the company is serious about working with the open source community.

"I'd call it a maturing," Orecklin said. "It's not what you would have expected from Microsoft three or four years ago."

No, but things have changed since then, right? Whatever reason Microsoft has for embracing open source -- and, in this case, there seems to be an entirely practical one -- and whatever skepticism might exist in the open source community, this opening of System Center makes total sense and should be a revenue producer for partners. And, for those partners who might be threatened competitively by the new System Center capabilities -- well, surely you had to see it coming.

What's your take on the new System Center capabilities? How will you sell them to your customers? Chime in at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on 04/30/2008 at 1:21 PM


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