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Microsoft Ships Beta of Operations Manager 2007

At its annual TechEd conference in Boston Tuesday, Microsoft announced the beginning of the beta test cycle for System Center Operations Manager 2007, an update to Microsoft Operations Manager 2005.

In a move to make Windows Vista adoption more fluid, the company also announced the beta availability of the Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 Operating System Deployment Feature Pack update, which adds support for the 64-bit version of Windows XP and the Windows Vista operating systems.

"With this update, we hope to accelerate customers' deployment of both operating systems so they can more quickly benefit from new performance and productivity enhancements," Felicity McGourty, director of product marketing in the Windows and Enterprise Management Division, said in a prepared statement.

Finally, Microsoft also announced it has released SMS 2003 R2 to manufacturing. SMS 2003 R2 includes a new vulnerability assessment capability.

As part of a move to unify its systems management products into a single line, the company rebranded Microsoft Operations Manager to System Center Operations Manager 2007, and Systems Management Server to System Center Configuration Manager 2007 in late April.

The upcoming release of Operations Manager 2007 will herald the first time the product has taken advantage of Microsoft's System Definition Model (SDM). Initially rolled out in 2003, SDM is part of Microsoft's Dynamic Systems Initiative.

Documents on Microsoft's Web site define SDM as "a model that is used to create definitions of distributed systems...[which are] a set of related software and hardware resources working together to accomplish a common function [such as with] multi-tier line-of-business (LOB) applications." Basically, using SDM lets businesses create a live blueprint of an entire distributed system.

Operations Manager 2007 also aims to deliver service-oriented management capabilities for Exchange Server, SharePoint technologies, Active Directory and LOB applications built on SQL Server 2005. The company is also extending the product beyond server management to provide proactive monitoring of Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows XP client environments, the company said in a statement.

When used in conjunction with SMS 2003, the updated OS Deployment Feature Pack will let administrators capture images in Microsoft's new Windows Imaging (WIM) format and enable them to customize and manage settings for individual deployments.

The final version of the feature pack is scheduled for release in August as is SMS 2003 R2. Microsoft expects to release Operations Manager 2007 to manufacturing in the fourth quarter.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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