Microsoft releases SP1 for MOM, tweaks software

Microsoft is being good to its MOM -- the company has released the first service pack for the server management software along with more than two dozen other tweaks. The company says what you get in SP1 is critical, but not all admins agree.

Microsoft this week released some expected improvements to its server management software that are helpful but don't necessarily advance the platform's ability to synthesize the data that users cull from the software.

Redmond released about 30 management pack updates and Service Pack 1 for Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) including a variety of fixes requested by users. The updates also include better support for managing non-Windows platforms.

The management pack updates promise some improvements to the software's ability to monitor Windows environments, in particular, the Microsoft .NET framework, network load balancing and server clusters, the company said.

In Service Pack 1, the company said it has increased the product's ability to monitor servers twofold. There is also better support for clustering the MOM database. A software development kit (SDK) also adds some features for managing non-Windows servers.

"The provision in the new Service Pack 1 for clustering MOM servers is critical in an enterprise environment where downtime can't be tolerated for management applications, and the improved support for managing non-Windows platforms in the new SDK 2 are essential for MoM to be able to compete with entrenched products like UniCenter TNG and Tivoli Enterprise," said Mitch Tulloch, a consultant and author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking.

But improved monitoring capabilities may not impress every Windows administrator, because lack of data is often not the problem, said Richard Ptak, president of Ptak & Associates, an Amherst, N.H.-based consulting firm.

Administrators can get plenty of data about what's happening in their environment, and in many instances they've come up with homegrown techniques, Ptak said. "What they really need are tools and capabilities to glean what all of this information really means."

To that end, third parties will have to use the SDK to create applications that mean something. "The clue to making [MOM] successful comes from the application of the data that is being collected," Ptak said. "This is nice and necessary, but not a cutting edge advancement in the ability to manage the environment."

Microsoft plans to announce a MOM roadmap in March at the Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas.

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