Betas Boost Capabilities of Operations Manager 2007

Three new public betas -- that boost capabilities in Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 -- were announced today at the Microsoft Management Summit 2008 event in Las Vegas. IT administrators typically use Operations Manager 2007 to centrally monitor network operations, as in a datacenter.

The new public betas include System Center Operations Manager 2007 Cross Platform Extensions, which provides additional support for some open source platforms, System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 and System Center Connectors.

Cross Platform Extensions
The first beta release, Cross Platform Extensions, is designed to help IT administrators use Operations Manager 2007 to monitor various open source operating systems and server solutions, including "HP-UX, Sun Solaris, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server," according to Microsoft's System Center Team Blog.

Quest Software, Novell and Xandros have been adding their support for the Cross Platform Extensions. They use them to enable the monitoring of open source applications from Apache and MySQL, as well as proprietary applications from Oracle. Xandros, in particular, created management packs for open source Apache and MySQL servers running on Linux and Solaris, according to Microsoft's announcement.

Microsoft added support for the Web Services for Management (WS-Management) standard in the Cross Platform Extensions, as well as support for the OpenPegasus project, a Common Information Model approach aimed at helping enterprises manage resources. In addition, Microsoft's announcement indicated that the company plans to join the OpenPegasus Steering Committee, donating code under the Microsoft Public License.

Virtual Machine Manager 2008
The second beta release, Virtual Machine Manager 2008, integrates with Operations Manager 2007. It allows administrators to deploy virtual machines across "Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 or VMware ESX Server," according to Microsoft's announcement.

The Virtual Machine Manager 2008 console can be used in conjunction with Operations Manager 2007 to indicate areas where physical and virtual resources can be run more efficiently. It works using a new feature called Performance Resource Optimization (PRO). This feature can provide IT administrators with tips to achieve greater efficiency, which appear in the Virtual Machine Manager console.

Microsoft's partners plan to deliver management packs that will support the PRO feature. The management packs let users integrate "domain-specific knowledge directly into Virtual Machine Manager," according to Microsoft's announcement.

Management packs, based on XML code, help IT administrators or Microsoft's partners monitor specific network components or customized applications. Microsoft provides an authoring tool in Operations Manager 2007 to create them. Previously, in Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005, the predecessor to System Center 2007, Microsoft used a proprietary format (called .AKM) for the management packs.

The third beta release, Connectors, allows System Center 2007 to exchange data with competing management systems offered by other vendors, in particular, "HP OpenView and IBM Tivoli Enterprise Console," according to Microsoft's announcement.

The big advance in Operations Manager 2007 over MOM 2005 is its improved method of monitoring mixed software and hardware computing environments, otherwise known as "heterogeneous environments," using Services Modeling Language. The three betas add to this capability. A fuller description of how Operations Manager 2007 works can be found here.

The three betas -- Cross Platform Extensions, Virtual Machine Manager 2008 and Connectors -- can be downloaded at the Microsoft Connect Web site.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.