If you've ever used Windows' Performance Monitor, you know there are hundreds of counters, many with cryptic names.
Although these counters can provide you with useful information regarding how Windows is operating, obtaining that information takes some real know-how.
In light of this, Microsoft released a product called Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) a few years ago. MOM can watch the various counters and interpret them for you, resulting in a clear picture of how your Windows servers are doing.
Although MOM's primary task is to watch over Windows servers, it was designed from the beginning to be extensible. Not long after MOM's initial release, Microsoft created a management pack for Exchange Server. This management pack allows MOM to watch over Microsoft Exchange in the same way it watches over Windows.
Today, Microsoft is creating management packs for all its server applications. But Microsoft's not the only company creating MOM management packs. There are more than 120 third-party management packs on the market that allow MOM to interact with non-Microsoft applications. Here's my take on four of these third-party management packs.
HP Server Management Packs for MOM 2005
Hewlett-Packard Co. offers some unique management packs for MOM: the HP ProLiant Management Pack and the HP Integrity Management Pack. What makes these two so unique is that most third-party management packs are used to monitor software. These packs monitor the health of HP server hardware.
HP management packs provide comprehensive hardware inventories of HP servers through MOM, such as CPU type and number of hard drives. These management packs also provide server health information. You can find more details on these management packs for MOMon HP's Web site.
NetPro's Diagnostics for Active Directory
NetPro Computing Inc. has a creative product for MOM called Diagnostics for Active Directory (DAD). NetPro designed the software to watch over a company's Active Directory and all related services. It can provide multi-forest management through a single console.
The software looks for any issues with domain controllers or DNS servers that could potentially diminish Active Directory's performance or reliability and then takes proactive action. It gives you a consolidated view of Active Directory, but also allows you to browse the directory in its entirety. What makes this product different is that MOM is not a requirement. Instead, MOM can be used to supplement the software's capabilities. Diagnostics for Active Directory can work with both MOM and HP's OpenView.
For more details on Diagnostics for Active Directory, vist NetPro's Web site.
NetIQ XMP for MOM
NetIQ Corp. also provides unique management packs for MOM. The company's XMP Base Pack extends MOM's default monitoring capabilities by providing extended management-related products for servers, security and antivirus protection. This management pack allows you to monitor HP, Dell and IBM server hardware. It also interfaces with your antivirus software to provide you with MOM-based antivirus management. Finally, it offers three times the security management rules of the default MOM management pack.
NetIQ's other management pack is the XMP Application Pack for MOM. It monitors common, non-Microsoft applications such as Oracle and Domino.
NetIQ's management packs also let you monitor servers that are running Windows NT Server 4.0, something that MOM can't normally do.
For more information on NetIQ's management packs, visit their Web site.
BindView Management Pack for MOM 2005
BindView Corp.'s Management Pack for MOM 2005 helps an organization maintain regulatory compliance by displaying various security-related misconfigurations.
For example, the BindView management pack displays things like missing security patches or files and folders that have been assigned inappropriate permissions. Learn more about the pack and its benefits at Management Pack for MOM 2005 at BindView's Web site.
Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for his work with Windows 2000 Server and IIS. Brien has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once in charge of IT security for Fort Knox. As a freelance technical writer he has written for Microsoft, CNET, ZDNet, TechTarget, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and other technology companies. You can visit Brien's personal Web site at www.brienposey.com.