My recent post on Microsoft’s dynamic systems initiative (DSI) outlined the various waves of new products which Microsoft is releasing in the management space over the next few years. What follows is a summary of some of the other product roadmap information that I picked up from last Friday’s Best of the Microsoft Management Summit 2005 event:
System Center is Microsoft’s overarching brand for integration of it’s management products, in the same way that Computer Associates (CA) has Unicenter, Hewlett-Packard (HP) has OpenView and IBM has Tivoli.
Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2006 is the first “System Center” branded product – launched last week in New York with an EMEA launch slated for 12 October 2005. The first release provides server backup and recovery for Windows – v2 (as part of the second wave of System Center products) will add support for Exchange Server, SQL Server and SharePoint.
Established products like Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 (SMS) and Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 (MOM) are also part of the System Center suite and the launch of the SMS 2003 inventory tool for Microsoft updates integrates the Windows Software Update Services (WSUS) scanner into SMS – effectively a locally hosted version of Microsoft Update.
Windows Server 2003 Release 2 (R2) is due for release later this year and will bring a number of new features to Windows Server 2003:
- New storage and management capabilities (Simple SAN, virtual disk service v1.1, common log file system, WS-Management, Microsoft Management Console v3.0).
- Enhancements to Active Directory (AD) (federated services, ADAM in-the-box, AD as a NIS master).
- .NET Framework enhancements (simplified data access and remoting, advanced transactions, ASP.NET v2.0).
- Services for Unix (Unix application subsystem and utilities – no longer a separate download, database connectivity).
Microsoft are positioning R2 as a minor release – i.e. it has no kernel changes and will actually ship on two CDs, the first is effectively Windows Server 2003 with SP1 and the second has the extra functionality.
Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 (formerly planned as Virtual Server 2005 service pack 1) is Microsoft’s answer for production virtual environments and will include:
- Non-Windows guest support.
- Network installation of guest operating systems.
- Clustering support.
- Greater scalability.
- 64-bit host support.
- Performance enhancements.
- MOM management pack.
- PXE booting.
- A licensing program for the virtual hard disk (.VHD) file format.
Microsoft System Center Reporting Manager 2005 is due early in 2006 (so I guess the name will change) but is currently expected to include:
- Integration of data from MOM, SMS and AD.
- An extensible schema.
- Facilitation of better business decision making.
- Offline data warehouse.
- Consolidated view of a multi-site hierarchy.
- Streamlined querying.
- Consolidated management.
Another new System Center product is Microsoft System Center Capacity Manager, a sizing solution (initially for Exchange Server 2003 and MOM 2005) which will provide:
- Assessment of architecture choices for future deployment.
- “What-if?” analysis.
- Performance modelling for current deployments.
- Identification of future bottlenecks.
- Prediction of the user experience.
- Understanding of the impact of changes.
- Optimised upgrade path.
Further out on the development path are new versions of MOM and SMS. MOM v3 is expected to go into limited beta testing at the end of this year with a public beta early in 2006. SMS v4 is further out in the plan, expected in the first half of 2007 (as part of the Longhorn Server wave) with a limited beta in early 2006 which will be expanded later in the year.
Microsoft’s view is that every vendor’s management product has its agent(s), communications protocol, database and user interface, but MOM’s strength is in its knowledge, with management packs built by the product groups. Their goal is to capitalise on that strength and it is expected that MOM v3 will offer:
- Model-based operations (more than just today’s management packs).
- Service-oriented monitoring (using SDM models defined in Visual Studio 2005).
- Improved task and command support.
- Extensive software development kit (SDK) and authoring tools (making it easier to produce management packs and import knowledge, e.g. from the Internet).
- Deep platform integration.
- Role-based user interface.
- Probable-cause analysis (a vehicle for managing uptime).
SMS v4 is about building on SMS 2003 (which some might consider to be the first solid SMS release), providing:
- Model-based operations.
- Desired configuration management.
- IT policies and industry compliance.
- Security interface for both intranet and Internet deployment (i.e. RPC over HTTPS).
- Integration with Windows network access protection (NAP) to implement quarantine for patching etc.
- Simple, role-based user interface.
- Unified operating system deployment, pulling together RIS, ADS and the SMS operating system deployment feature pack.
Of course, much of this is still some way off, and product feature sets are always subject to change, but Microsoft is certainly making moves towards becoming a significant player in the enterprise management space – or at least for the management of their own platform.