Microsoft\u00a0Wednesday released the latest versions of its performance and monitoring tool, which forms a cornerstone in its plan to create a management platform for Windows.Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005 and MOM Workgroup Edition were released to manufacturing and should be generally available Oct. 1.MOM 2005 is a major part of Microsoft\u2019s Dynamic System Initiative, a comprehensive management platform being developed for Windows that includes upgrades to Visual Studio as well as infrastructure software.\u201cMOM is a major step for us,\u201d says David Hamilton, director of the Windows and enterprise management division at Microsoft.Along with System Management Server (SMS) 2003, MOM 2005 will become the foundation for a new product called System Center, which is due to be released next year. It will feature a common interface to link MOM and SMS and a set of reporting services that will draw information from the two management tools.Last month, Microsoft\u2019s chief software architect Bill Gates called out MOM, SMS and System Center, along with Windows XP SP2, the next version of Windows Server 2003 (called R2), and Internet Security and Acceleration Server, and said those products would help transform security \u201cfrom a concern for [Microsoft] into something that\u2019s a significant, unique asset as well as a business opportunity.\u201dMicrosoft has more than 50 Management Packs available for use with MOM, including 20 new packs with the 2005 version. Management packs are linked with certain applications, such as Exchange or SQL Server, and communicate knowledge about an application\u2019s functions and errors to MOM.The new packs track application state, model health and support the ability to correct errors or restart services or entire servers. A new reporting and analysis engine includes hundreds of pre-built reports.\u00a0Microsoft added a wizard setup tool, a configuration checker, discovery and automatic installation of Management Packs to help ease installation. Also new are an Outlook-style interface and a role-based console to tailor MOM for administrators, operations staff and those collecting reports.MOM 2005 ships with the MOM Connector Framework, which includes connectors to other management platforms, including HP OpenView, IBM Tivoli, and CA Unicenter.Also, 20 third-party partners announced Management Packs, including Siebel, SAP, Cisco and Dell, while others offered add-ons or integration with MOM, including BindView, eXc Software, JalaSOFT, MetiLinx, Motive, NetIQ, NetPro Computing, Opalis Software, Quest Software, Silect Software, Skywire Software, Tidal Software and Veritas.MOM 2005 Workgroup Edition offers functionality similar to that of MOM 2005, but is limited to use on 10 devices.MOM 2005 is priced at $729. Users are required to have an Operations Management License (OML) for each device managed by MOM. An OML five-pack is priced at $2,689. MOM 2005 Workgroup is priced at $499.