Microsoft targets CA, HP with new management attack

Microsoft to extend its System Center software to handle cross platform management duties

LAS VEGAS -- Microsoft Tuesday said it plans to become a major management platform vendor to battle the likes of CA and HP and said it would extend its System Center software to encompass Linux and Unix-based machines.

The company plans to open up its annual Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) by laying out new pieces of its management platform that it says will transform a five-year-old mission to create a platform for Windows into a strategy for a cross-platform, distributed enterprise management system.

"We think we are a serious player in this game,"said Larry Orecklin, the general manager of the Windows enterprise and management division. "We want to become the systems management platform [in the enterprise].”

To build toward that goal, Microsoft plans to extend its System Center software, which includes Configuration Manager and Operations Manager, across platforms and add application management to its current infrastructure capabilities.

Microsoft plans to move across the divide using the OpenPegasus project, which is an open source implementation of the Distributed Management Task Force’s (DMTF) Common Information Model (CIM) and Web-based Enterprise Management (WBEM) standards.

The project is run by the OpenGroup, and Microsoft announced Tuesday that it is joining the steering committee of OpenPegasus.

Linux vendors Novell and Red Hat have incorporated WBEM or its derivatives into their Linux operating systems and Sun and HP have done the same with their Unix-based operating systems. Microsoft has its own implementation of WBEM called Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI).

WEBEM is a set of system management technologies, including CIM, for unifying management of distributed computing infrastructures.

At MMS, Microsoft launched into beta a set of extensions called System Center Operations Manager 2007 Cross Platform Extensions. The extensions incorporate OpenPegasus and the XML-based WS-Management protocol developed by Microsoft. The two are used to discover both physical and virtual systems on a network and monitor and manage them. The first agent-based extensions will cover HP-UX, Sun Solaris, Suse Linux Enterprise Server and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

The extensions are core to a central management platform anchored by Operations Manager 2007.

Microsoft also will release for free Operations Manager 2007 Connectors, which integrate the software with HP OpenView and IBM Tivoli management platforms.

The connectors are based on the same standards as the Cross Platform Extensions, and will ship between April and June 2009 as part of Operations Manager 2007 Service Pack 2.\

The beta versions of the connectors will be uni-directional, moving Operations Manger data to the HP and IBM platforms.

When the connectors are completed, they will have bi-directional functionality, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft also released a beta of Virtual Machine Manager 2008 that will support both Microsoft's forthcoming Hyper-V add-on to Windows Server 2008 and VMware’s ESX Server.

Microsoft also is introducing Performance and Resource Optimization capabilities that let OEMs develop Operations Manager management packs that monitor unique features of their platforms, such as power management.

In addition, Microsoft lined up 30 partners who will endorse its enterprise distributed management efforts.

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