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Microsoft server manager adds Linux, Unix support

With native support of Linux and Unix, this is not your Mom's MOM. Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 embraces the once unthinkable.

After years of getting dinged by IT managers for selling systems management software that just does Windows, Microsoft has released a version of Systems Center Operations Manager with native Linux and Unix support.

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Systems Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 release candidate was rolled out this week at Microsoft Management Summit 2009 in Las Vegas. The software will become available later this quarter. Microsoft did not disclose pricing.

One expert said the lack of interoperability with platforms other than those sold by Microsoft is one of the biggest knocks against the System Center management suite. For years Microsoft famously ignored Linux and Unix, and IT shops would use separate software – and often people - to manage Unix and Linux servers. Microsoft also could not compete with the large systems management vendors, such as IBM, CA, and Hewlett-Packard, which do sell software products capable of cross-platform management.

"Data centers are typically very heterogeneous," said Andi Mann, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates in Boulder, Colo. "If you can standardize on a single management tool, it's going to make you more efficient."

At MMS 2009 this week, Microsoft partners, such as HP, disclosed add-ons and bundles that will let System Center customers manage third-party hardware and software more easily. Hewlett-Packard said today its HP Insight Control suite integrates HP ProLiant and HP BladeSystem servers with the System Center console, so IT managers can monitor and manage servers using System Center.

Microsoft's goal for System Center is to give IT managers the ability to manage their entire infrastructure -- both physical and virtual, hosted and on premise -- with one set of tools, said Larry Orecklin, Microsoft's general manager of System Center and virtualization marketing.

Vendors with similar visions include BMC Software, HP, IBM and Symantec, but no one vendor will ever do it all. "It's great to have a single-source vendor, but there's always room for niche vendors," EMA's Mann said.

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