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Microsoft smooths path for datacentre managers

Microsoft has rolled out a set of architectural guidelines to help IT managers build and manage datacentres made up of Windows and non-Windows technologies.

Specifically, the goal of the Microsoft Solutions for Management (MSM) is intended as a service that helps IT executives achieve operational efficiencies - improve the manageability of their shops to reduce its overall cost of ownership.

MSM, which uses the Microsoft Operations Framework in concert with the company's Systems Management Server and Operations Manager, is intended to allow IT departments to implement and automate proven industry best practices faster.

Such practices can address common problems such as patch management and software updates, installation of new applications, and monitoring and controlling a range of services.

"We are trying to create a prescriptive architectural guidance for a range of scenarios, starting with the core infrastructure on up through how to build a working datacentre, how to manage it," said David Hamilton, director of the Management Business Group at Microsoft.

"It can even help in creating specific vertical applications that might conform to something like HIPPA or address a B2B relationship."

In a survey conducted by Microsoft, CIOs said that about only 25% of projects they rolled out successfully delivered everything they were originally intended to deliver, Hamilton said. They said that about half of the time spent on projects is "churn" or non-productive, largely because they are stymied by decided on which approach or direction to take.

Some of the capabilities in the first launch of MSM include guidelines for critical patch deployment, new applications installation, monitoring, and control of Windows 2000 services and applications.

It also contains an operations management service that helps identify important issues, process gaps, and the operational maturity of an IT shop's operating environment.

"There are a series of pain points that exist for many users in the operations space. They are either not as proactive as they want to be in terms of identifying problems, or it is too hard to roll out apps or when you need to patch systems. These sorts of guidelines can help point out what areas of your operation you need to improve," said Chris Burry, technology infrastructure fellow at Avanade.

Avanade,, which works with Microsoft on integrating enterprise-class solutions, became the first independent provider to offer the MSM service along with Microsoft Consulting Services.

Users and developers wanting more information about Microsoft Solutions Management can find it on the Microsoft Web site at www.microsoft.com/solutions/msm.

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