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Microsoft to unveil IT mgmt. platform

By , Network World
March 22, 2007 08:03 PM ET

Network World - Microsoft next week is set to take its first major steps toward delivering a Windows platform designed to foster dynamically managed IT systems while making management efforts less expensive, easier to use and more consistent.

This week at its annual Management Summit, Microsoft will announce the availability of System Center Operations Manager, formerly called Microsoft Operations Manager. The software is Microsoft’s most significant management tool release since the company unveiled its Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI) in 2003.

DSI is a 10-year plan to create a Windows management platform. It includes a technology called the System Definition Model (SDM), a proprietary Microsoft technology for representing operational information or knowledge for each component of an IT system.

Operations Manager is the first management product to support SDM, which serves as the foundation to build models that servers and applications use to define their operational needs and communicate that data to the network.

The vision is that SDM-based models will foster better reliability, tracking, reporting, automated response/troubleshooting and rapid problem containment. DSI is Microsoft’s version of what others call autonomic computing.

Management buildout
Microsoft is nearly halfway through its 10-year effort to create a management platform for Windows under its Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI) strategy. Here is a look at what products already support DSI.

Products Key DSI enabling features DSI architectural elements
Development tools
Visual Studio 2005 Can capture modeling information while developing applications. Design for Operations Knowledge-Driven Management
Virtual Server and Virtual PC Consolidated infrastructure; ability to create test environments. Design for Operations Virtualized Infrastructure
Operating systems
Windows Vista Configuration through imaging support for modeling, management specs. Design for Operations Knowledge-Driven Management Virtualized Infrastructure
*Longhorn Server Role-based deployment using modeling; virtualization capabilities. Design for Operations Knowledge-Driven Management Virtualized Infrastructure
System Center management Modeling to support health monitoring, desired configuration monitoring and capacity planning. Design for Operations Knowledge-Driven Management
*Not released yet
Click to see: Management buildout

“We are four years into the vision of DSI, and I feel like we are reaching the tipping point where it is crossing over from philosophy to a demonstration,” says Ed Anderson, director of DSI for Microsoft. “We have hard stuff, we have coded stuff up, we have specifications, we have involved the industry and we have implemented this stuff in our products.”

It’s the next half-dozen years of the DSI plan, however, where reality will determine if it all works. Experts say Microsoft will have to offer tools to simplify the collection and modeling of operational and other data, as well as convince customers to begin deploying integrated DSI-based systems instead of individual tools. The company also faces the task of carving out a spot among systems management heavyweights.

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