Second beta of MOM 2004 released

Microsoft took a step closer to MOM's farewell with a second beta version of the server management software. After MOM 2004 is released, the technology will be folded into System Center.

Microsoft took another step toward bringing together its management vision for a unified platform this week with the release of the second beta version of its server management software.

Microsoft Operations Manager 2004 is the last version of MOM before the technology is rolled into the System Center suite, which is due out sometime in late 2004. MOM 2004 is slated to ship in mid-2004.

System Center will combine two systems management products, MOM and Systems Management Server 2003, which was released in November. Over time, System Center will become part of Microsoft's Dynamic Systems Initiative, which was announced in March. At that time, Microsoft gave few details about how it would tie its management products together.

Microsoft said that the enhancements in MOM 2004 will focus on rapid deployment, intuitive operation and better management pack expertise. The software also offers better tracking and resolution features and an improved console.

"MOM will contain not just a lot of general improvements, but better integration with Microsoft products because the earlier version was closer to what was initially purchased by NetIQ [Corp.]," said Rod Trent, a management expert who is CEO of MyITForum.com, a community site devoted to Microsoft management products and related technologies.

Customers who want to participate in the beta can apply by going to the MOM page on Microsoft's Web site.

One industry watcher, analyst Richard Ptak, said that the beta release is a major step forward in Microsoft's strategy, "if you believe everything they are saying." But in terms of MOM's market acceptance and overall functionality, there is little to impress.

"I don't see them advancing the state of the art," said Ptak, a principal at Ptak, Noel & Associates of Amherst, N.H. "What they deliver is OK, but it's disappointing considering the resources they have."

Ptak said that he expected big things from former BMC Software Inc. executive Kirill Tatarinov, a systems management veteran who joined Microsoft in July 2002 to run the enterprise management division.

"He has shaken up the thinking and made some progress toward delivery, but if products don't come out showing something more than off-the-shelf capability that is stitched together in the next six to 12 months, then it's going to be hard to think of him in terms of someone who has made a difference."

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