Microsoft Slashes MOM Prices With App Management Pack Release

Microsoft Corp. dramatically lowered the price for Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) and its brand new add-on Application Management Pack this month. MOM is a consolidated management environment for data centers based on Microsoft Windows 2000 servers and .NET family applications.

Previously listed at $849 per processor, MOM will cost $349 per processor until April 30. Microsoft also slashed the price for the MOM add-on Application Management Pack from its original $949 per processor list to $349 per processor until April 30. Users who want to use the Application Management Pack, which was released on Thursday, must first buy MOM.

Michael Emanuel, Microsoft's senior product manager for Microsoft Operations Manager, positions the price cut as a promotion to get users to try the Microsoft approach.

"We have created an alternative model that incorporates all of the specialist management knowledge that we have for managing Windows-based systems and want to give customers the opportunity to see the value of this all-inclusive approach," Emanuel says.

The Application Management Pack officially extends MOM’s capabilities to Microsoft’s BackOffice and .NET family of applications, which include Exchange 5.5, Exchange 2000, SQL Server 2000, Site Server 2000 and others. On its own, MOM provides a consolidated facility for event and performance management and monitoring. With the MOM Application Management Pack installed, BackOffice and .Net applications can now take advantage of this facility, as well.

Microsoft's Exchange team appears to be embracing the MOM Application Management Pack the hardest -- or at least the earliest. The Exchange team put out a news release last week touting the benefits of MOM with Exchange 2000 and Exchange 5.5.

Chris Baker, lead product manager for Exchange 2000 with Microsoft, says the MOM Application Management Pack makes it easier for administrators to manage Exchange implementations in large environments, especially those with distributed Exchange sites, servers and connectors. Baker describes those capabilities as a major enhancement over the capabilities in the vanilla Exchange System Manager that ships by default with Exchange 5.5 and Exchange 2000.

“With our MMC snap-in for the [Exchange] System Manager, basically all that you get is information about that server, and it doesn’t lend itself as easily to remote administration,” Baker says. “So the first real value-add with the Application Pack is that from one console, you can actually view all of your Exchange servers, gateway servers and Exchange connectors and proactively manage them.”

Baker says that the Pack allows Exchange administrators to identify potential problems before they cause downtime or otherwise negatively impact service. In large sites with distributed Exchange servers, for example, the MOM Application Management Pack can monitor mail flow verification between Exchange servers to ensure that e-mail traffic is flowing smoothly. It can test client logon response times by simulating MAPI client logon requests to Exchange. It can filter event log entries and also provides a scripting facility which can automatically alert administrators to critical events as they occur.

“It can verify that you’re authenticating properly against a domain controller, it does a lot of monitoring system health, it can continuously monitor connections between servers,” he says.

The MOM Application Management pack also takes care of the basics, such as mail queue length and disk capacity monitoring. It’s also capable of monitoring Exchange 5.5 or Exchange 2000 clusters.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.