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Microsoft Shows Off MOM at N+I

LAS VEGAS – Microsoft Corp. put some flesh on MOM’s bones at Networld + Interop this week, demonstrating some of the technology’s capabilities, announcing the product’s release schedule and revealing pricing.

MOM, or Microsoft Operations Manager 2000, is based on technology licensed from NetIQ Corp. in fall 2000. The management software will release to manufacturing in June and be available “this summer,” according to Microsoft.

MOM will cost about $850 per processor for each managed Windows 2000 Server or Windows NT Server. To go beyond management of Active Directory and IIS into the realm of Microsoft apps such as SQL Server and Exchange Server, users will need to buy the Application Management Pack for an additional $950 per processor.

Cliff Reeves, a former Tivoli executive giving his first speech as Microsoft’s vice president in the Windows .NET Server product management group, said one of Microsoft’s main goals with MOM was to create an infrastructure for Microsoft and its partners to extend the .NET management vision.

“Management used to be a luxury,” Reeves said. “As systems scaled up, management became an absolute necessity.”

The idea behind the software is to automate the process of recognizing the existence of problem events, identifying probable causes, and following some procedure to eliminate the problem.

“The real challenge is to augment the world of instrumentation … with expertise, with knowledge,” Reeves said.

In Microsoft’s demonstration, several remote users received browser errors when attempting to access an online resource. MOM identified the source of the problem as originating from a downed SQL Server. By clicking on the event through a Microsoft Management Console, the system administrator connected to knowledge base information identifying potential solutions.

Another demonstration showed pre-emptive management features, in which the software recognized symptoms of what was about to happen. The program tracks performance over time to watch for trends in server activity and predict behavior.

With MOM, administrators will also be able to set policies that would act as rules for server behavior.

NetIQ simultaneously unveiled its plans to work the edges with MOM connectors to non-Microsoft software and greater functionality within some Microsoft software areas. NetIQ calls its connectors Extended Management Packs (XMP). The company will introduce a dozen beta XMPs this summer.

XMPs for third-party products target Oracle’s RDBMS; anti-virus software from McAfee, Symantec and Trend Micro; server hardware from Compaq, Dell and Hewlett-Packard; Tivoli TME; Micromuse Netcool/OMNIbus; HP VantagePoint Operations; and NetIQ’s own AppManager. Pricing hasn’t been set.

One end user said he liked the idea that Microsoft is getting into the management business in a more serious way.

“[They] make the products, so [they] should be the ones to manage them,” said network operations manager Tyler Well with Tyssenkrupp Elevator. His company currently uses HP OpenView. Well offered one caveat: “They didn’t say it, but you have to have [Systems Management Server] to use MOM.” Dian Schaffhauser, editorial director of Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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