Microsoft beefs up System Center with new module

Service Manager delivers workflow and incident response, plus self-service help desk for end users

Service Manager 2010 is the new workflow and incident response module that's been added to the Microsoft System Center suite of management applications. Conceptually, it's a process control application with two faces: a management console for network managers to perform workflow operations, and a Web-based help desk Self Service Portal for end users.

Service Manager 2010 needs to be purchased separately, but is heavily dependent on two other Microsoft System Center modules, Operations Manager (Formerly 'MOM') and Configuration Manager. Without these two modules as input sources, Service Manager is a pretty handicapped component, which made us wonder why, as these three modules are so heavily intertwined, they're sold separately.

The upside, however, is that they work well together. They don't mandate Microsoft infrastructure exclusively, although the joining of non-Microsoft apps, operating systems, and infrastructure is no easy task.

What it does

At the heart of Service Manager is an MS SQL Server database, called the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) that receives input from Service Manager workflows, and, more importantly, from Ops Manager and Config Manager via 'connectors'.

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The flow of data from Ops Manager and Config Manager is usually one-way; they generally update the CMDB, and register their state into Service Manager, not the reverse.

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