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Microsoft will rule management market by 2005, Gartner predicts

Meredith Derby

LAS VEGAS -- Microsoft will be the largest supplier of management products for Windows server environments by 2005, analyst Cameron Haight predicted this week at the Microsoft Management Summit conference. Further, Microsoft will become one the "Big Four" network and systems management (NSM) vendors by 2006, he said.

"Microsoft will fight to the death to ensure that it is dominant in the NSM space," said Haight, research director at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Group. To win over the NSM space from the current "Big Four" NSM leaders, Computer Associates, Hewlett-Packard, Tivoli and BMC Software, Microsoft must continue to focus on Windows' TCO and learn to scale up and out, Haight said. Consequently, the "Big Four," will have to be innovative in their new technologies to try to counter Microsoft's expected proliferation.

The Windows management environment is growing at the fastest rate among all OS environments, Haight said. The total NSM market in 2000 was $8.9 billion. By 2005, the Windows management market alone will be over $6 million, he said.

Microsoft must give credit to partner NetIQ for its rise in the NSM space, Haight said. NetIQ's Operations Manager was the first iteration of Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM). NetIQ will continue to be Microsoft's primary partner, Haight predicted.

Down the line, however, Microsoft and NetIQ may butt heads over security management, Haight said. Currently Microsoft relies heavily on NetIQ

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to create products for its management platform. Leaving the security of its infrastructure to a third party, such as NetIQ's Security Management Packs for MOM, may not be the best plan, he said.

Presently, Microsoft is a small NSM player, Haight said. Much of its success thus far is due to the software distribution and configuration management functions of Systems Management Server (SMS). In the next three to five years, however, MOM's performance and availability management software will help the company grow as a management force, he said. Microsoft will only be a competitive threat, however, if it can prove that MOM will support other technologies, like Unix and Linux.

Thus far, Microsoft has taken a "layered" approach to management, Haight said. Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) and System Monitor are technologies embedded in the Windows OS. Active Directory is another layer, while Exchange System Monitor and SQL Server Enterprise Manager are Microsoft's current management-related tools. MOM and Visio Enterprise Network Tools (VENT) are Microsoft's true standalone management products.

In the end, "Microsoft will be the 800 pound gorilla but won't have it all their way," said Haight. Competition from the Big Four, but also from best of breed companies, such as Opalis and Rippletech, will be tough. Haight believes the Big Four will up the ante in the battle against Microsoft by focusing on Linux, Unix and mainframe management, areas where Microsoft has historically been at a disadvantage.


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