Microsoft has announced test versions of several of its management products, including a new, lower-cost, "Express" version of its Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) product.
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The company said it released a beta version of Windows Update Services, the successor to the Software Update Services (SUS) 1.0 patch management product, as well as beta software for MOM 2005, MOM 2005 Express, System Center 2005, and a Device Management feature pack for Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003.
Microsoft has also changed some terminology. The MOM update was previously called MOM 2004 and System Center, which bundles MOM 2005 and SMS 2003, did not have a year tacked onto its name.
Despite adding 2005 to the product names, Microsoft intends to release System Center and the latest MOM version in 2004. The SUS update is slipping slightly, and Windows Update Services (WUS) will not be out until later this year. It was originally due in the first half of the year.
New to its management product lineup, MOM 2005 Express is pitched as a less expensive product for organisations requiring only simple monitoring of Microsoft Windows Server environments.
The Device Management feature pack for SMS 2003 extends management capabilities of the product to Microsoft-based mobile devices such as PDAs and smart phones. This SMS add-on and as well as an Operating System Deployment feature pack are due out in 2004,.
The management products are part of Microsoft's Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI), a plan for reducing IT complexity by improving software manageability. Microsoft cited an Accenture study that shows IT professionals spend up to 70% of their time managing systems. Microsoft's aim is to bring that down to 55% by automating routine management tasks.
Joris Evers writes for IDG News Service