Q&A: Microsoft's Muglia chats up management directions

Senior Vice President of Microsoft's Server and Tools Business, Bob Muglia, mulls Microsoft's management lineup.

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Microsoft's Bob Muglia At the recent Microsoft Management Summit, Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Microsoft’s server and tools business, introduced the newest additions to the Microsoft management lineup: System Center Service Desk and System Center Carmine. Muglia sat down with Network World Senior Editor John Fontana for a chat about Service Desk, which pulls Microsoft’s management tools into the Carmine workflow environment used to manage virtual images on a virtual server.

Service desk tools are available today; what is different about what Microsoft is doing?

The big thing we are doing that is different in this area is that our service desk will be the first service desk that has a configuration management database that is based on our Systems Definition Model [SDM, Microsoft’s modeling technology]. We will have a common modeling schema for underlying management products such as Operations Manager [formerly MOM] and Configuration Manager [formerly SMS]. And then that same modeling schema will be extended for all the processes that Service Desk brings in. It is all model-driven.

Our approach to management is different. We say let’s build management into our underlying operating system, our underlying applications and services and have it all be cohesive. To join all that together we need to have SDM. Now what we are saying is Service Desk is a point of integration that provides process across these different management things.

There are other service desk products out there so why will users buy from Microsoft and aren't you a little late to this game?

First of all, depending on the size of the environment and the investment that people have, they may choose not to. I will start by saying that. That is OK. A lot of companies have not implemented a service desk, and especially for medium-size organizations this solution will be really good. The interesting thing about large organizations that have investments with service desks is that the satisfaction level is low. So we think there is an opportunity. Companies that have a substantive investment in their existing service desks can stay and we will integrate with them if that is what they want to do. Are we late? Yes. But we could not have built this without SDM.

What is the road map for Service Desk?

Beta later this year, ship in the second half of ’07.

You didn’t mention a lot about Carmine in your keynote. Do you have any more details?

Carmine is mostly focused on image management. So it is being able to manage images for virtualization. It will work with SMS. We are going to say a lot more about it later this quarter when we release a beta.

Does it compare to anything available now?

VMware has some stuff on the market.

You also talked about virtualization for operating system services and applications. What is happening there?

System services virtualization is an interesting thing. If you look at the internals of the [operating system], you have the kernel and a set of services that provide the services for all the apps that run on top of the [operating system]. It is interesting in some scenarios to run multiple implementations of those services side by side. And it is particularly interesting in the case where you have completely different organizations trying to share a server and you really want to have a great deal of isolation. It is a performance issue. If you virtualize the system services, you get the ability to run hundreds of sessions simultaneously with quite a bit of isolation. We are not going to do system services virtualization for a while. It will be post-Longhorn.

What about for virtualization for applications?

Application virtualization is different in that [it] is really providing state isolation for applications so you can package an application and keep its state fully isolated and separate, and provide a virtualized environment for that application to run in that is fully state-separated. It is particularly interesting on desktops where users are working with many applications and some of those applications are very transient in their use. It is really about configuration separation of the application to allow multiple apps to be installed very straightforwardly on a machine. Applications can run side by side, where before they could not.

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