Microsoft paints management software future

Microsoft has provided more details on the future of its System Center bundle of management products.

Microsoft has provided more details on the future of its System Center bundle of management products.

The company has yet to release System Center 2005, the first version of the product, which bundles Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005 and Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 along with a reporting service, yet corporate vice president Kirill Tatarinov discussed the second release of the product in a speech at the Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas.

Tatarinov's presentation repeated a lot of the information Microsoft had given on Tuesday in a keynote presentation by Bob Muglia, the senior vice president of the Windows Server Division. The extra information on System Center, however, was new.

The first release of System Center, due later this year, will add a reporting service to the combination of MOM 2005 and SMS 2003, allowing System Center to combine change and configuration data from SMS with operational data from MOM. The second System Center release will add state management and capacity planning as well as a more advanced data warehouse.

Both state management and capacity planning are areas in which management software suppliers, including Microsoft, have "under delivered", he said.

State management would allow System Center users to define settings - for example, which applications should run on a specific server in a network. The system would monitor the state of the server and whether it meets those defined settings.

Capacity planning would help users figure out what resources they needed.

Both the state management and capacity planning features would make extensive use of Microsoft's System Definition Model (SDM), a modeling scheme that uses XML (Extensible Markup Language) to describe attributes of hardware and software in an IT environment. SDM is part of Microsoft's Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI), a plan for reducing IT complexity by improving software manageability.

SDM is extremely ambitious, said Peter Pawlak, a lead analyst at Directions on Microsoft.

"This is very complex. People have been trying to do this for years. It is really hard to model the reality of systems."

However, Tatarinov promised the crowd of IT managers that Microsoft will make its vision a reality. "We will deliver," he said. "DSI puts the centre of gravity back into IT operations. It is about giving control back to you."

Joris Evers writes for IDG News Service

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