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Service Manager will launch with automation software

Microsoft's Systems Center Service Manager will finally debut this spring with Opalis automation software.

System Center Service Manager will be released in Microsoft management suites this spring along with cross-platform, IT automation software from recently acquired Opalis Software.

The two new server management capabilities will be available through Microsoft's Server Management Suite Enterprise (SMSE) and Server Management Suite Datacenter (SMSD) licenses for inflated prices that take effect in July, Microsoft's System Center team said this week.

The much anticipated -- and much delayed -- System Center Service Manager will be included in both SMSE and SMSD licenses when Microsoft releases it the first half of this year.

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When Service Manager becomes generally available, customers licensed for the SMSE or SMSD will receive the Service Manager Server ML as part of their active Software Assurance coverage.

IT automation software from Opalis, which was acquired by Microsoft in December, will also be included in new or existing SMSE or SMSD licenses with active Software Assurance coverage as of December 10, 2009.

Both Opalis' software and Service Manager are designed for large, heterogeneous data center environments, and the products complement each another, said Don Retallack, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, a Kirkland, Wash.-based consulting firm.

"What Service Manager doesn't do – automation across different vendor systems – is what Opalis does. The combo is a big deal for people managing heterogeneous data center and other vendor suites," Retallack said.

Service Manager includes configuration management database (CMDB) functions and uses automated processes based on Microsoft Operations Framework and ITIL. It fully integrates with other System Center platforms including the server and desktop managers, Operations Manager and Configuration Manager, respectively.

Retallack said major companies probably won't implement Service Manager until they see positive performance results from Microsoft's new product. "Plus, they already have products from other vendors in place."

The addition of Systems Center Service Manager and Opalis doesn't come cheap; effective July 1, 2010, the SMSE will move from $1,198 per license to $1,569 per license and the SMSD will move from $749 for each, per processor license to $1,310 for each, per processor license.

The SMSE license is typically for non-virtualized servers or systems with fewer than four virtual machines, where SMSD is best for users with many virtual hosts and virtual machines, Microsoft said.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Bridget Botelho, News Writer

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