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Summer of Management: Service Packs Coming for MOM, AppCenter

Microsoft plans incremental enhancements to much of its line of management software this summer, not just Systems Management Server.

Microsoft disclosed this week that beta availability of Systems Management Server 2003, formerly known by the codename Topaz, will come this summer. But Microsoft also has plans to improve upon Microsoft Operations Manager and Application Center in coming months. While neither of the server products is slated for a full release in the near future, both will get feature enhancements through service packs.

The first Service Pack for MOM will ship this summer, along with the second MOM Software Development Kit (SDK). A beta version of Application Center 2000 Service Pack 2 is also planned for release during the summer, says Michael Emanuel, senior product manager for Microsoft’s management business group.

MOM SP1 will bring new management packs for Active Directory and Exchange, add globalization and include some other code cleaning.

The MOM event monitoring software, which Microsoft purchased from NetIQ Corp. and released last July, manages Windows 2000 Servers, the Active Directory and Internet Information Services. Separate Application Management Packs, which cost extra, cover event monitoring for .NET Enterprise Servers, including Exchange and SQL Server. NetIQ offers a series of Extended Management Packs that monitor other platforms and products and return the data to the MOM infrastructure.

“We’re refreshing a lot of the management packs,” Emanuel says. “They’re taking advantage of modifications we’ve made in the underlying stuff.”

The globalization allows MOM to run on French, German and Japanese servers, although it will still run in English. “It’s globalization, not localization,” Emanuel clarifies. “MOM is only run in English and international servers. It is in the works to change. It’s a huge job to globalize and even bigger to localize. In the service pack, the closest we can get is globalization.”

MOM’s first service pack will also deliver full support for clustered failover, and will bring a change that could save some organizations money. “In the past, MOM required you to have a separate SQL Server database for MOM. Now, you can have a single SQL for SMS and MOM,” Emanuel says. Not all organizations running both management servers will be able to take advantage of that change, however, Emanuel says.

The SDK 2.0 for MOM will require SP1. It will feature a much broader set of WMI interfaces that developers can use than the first SDK had.

Application Center SP2 will add support for the .NET Framework. One of the main functions of Application Center is to allow users to stitch together COM objects into scalable applications. “Application Center today can support [the .NET] environment, but we can be a lot smarter,” Emanuel says.

Starting with SP2, Application Center will be able to use .NET Global Assemblies to create a manifest of applications to add more intelligence to the way it replicates and load balances applications, Emanuel says.

Another key feature of SP2, and a major reason it will be a beta rather than a full release, is support for Windows .NET Server Release Candidate 1, which Microsoft is scheduled to deliver this summer. The final version of Application Center SP2 will ship when Windows .NET Server ships, with full support for the gold code.

About the Author

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

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