Microsoft answers call for more cross-platform support

Enterprises want Microsoft to provide better support for Unix and Linux, as well as for its own products. System Center is moving in that direction.

LAS VEGAS--Just as Unix shops have their own management silos, so does Microsoft, but the software company is opening up its System Center line, in part, to support heterogeneous environments.

A common complaint is not just a lack of interoperability with non-Microsoft platforms, but also with specific enterprise systems management products, such as HP OpenView, IBM Tivoli, BMC Performance Manager and CA Unicenter.

At the Microsoft Management Summit 2008 here this week, Microsoft introduced betas for cross-platform extensions between its server management product, System Center Operations Manager 2007, and HP-UX, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Sun Solaris and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server operating systems.

Beta Connectors are also now available between Operations Manager 2007 and HP OpenView and IBM Tivoli Enterprise systems management consoles.

The betas are based on open source technologies WS-Management and OpenPegasus.

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Quest and Xandros are also expected to unveil beta management packs this week for applications developed by The Apache Software Foundation, MySQL AB and Oracle.

Management consultant David Clapp said his company Inacom Information Systems in Madison, Wis., has been asking Microsoft for more integration with Unix- and Linux-based systems to alleviate the pain of managing Unix, Linux and Microsoft stacks independently.

"We want to see correlation if there is an outage," Clapp said. "If the Unix or Linux environment goes down, that affects the Microsoft environment. There's always going to be interplay [between different platforms] that we need to see and make them work together."

Virtualization introduces a new cross-platform management challenge as well, which is why Intel's Microsoft alliance manager Joakim Lialias said he believes Microsoft is also coming out with a beta for System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, the next version of VMM 2007, with support for VMware ESX Server.

"Whether Microsoft likes it or not it's crucial to have interoperability, especially with the proliferation of virtualization and having to manage applications in different environments and on different OSes," Lialias said. "There has to be an overall management cloud for IT admins."

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