Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005 contains numerous improvements over its predecessor, MOM 2000. But I've found that Microsoft's Web site doesn't go into much detail about the improvements, and I know many admins who are wondering whether MOM 2005 is worth the upgrade.
If you are one of those undecided admins, read on. I'm going to give an explanation of some of the new features in MOM 2005 and what they mean to you.
Performance and scalability race to new highs
Although not technically a new feature, MOM 2005 offers some major improvements in performance and scalability.
For example, MOM 2000 was designed to support up to 2,000 computers, while MOM 2005 scales to support 4,000 machines. Server discovery time is five times faster than it used to be, and the process of pushing agents to servers is two and a half times faster than it was with the previous version.
The agent's footprint size has been reduced from 22 MB to a mere 3.5 MB. And while I'm on the subject, I should mention that working without agents is an option with MOM 2005. However, MOM tends to be more efficient and reliable when agents are used.
100+ report types -- and custom, too
Another area in which MOM 2005 has been improved is in its reporting capabilities. MOM 2005 is designed to work with the SQL Server Reporting Service. There are more than 100 different types of reports built into MOM 2005. These reports cover everything from system monitoring to capacity planning and performance analysis. Because MOM 2005's reports are based on the SQL Server Reporting Service, it's fairly easy to create custom reports.
Management packs monitor OS and server apps
Some Microsoft products, such as Exchange Server 2003, offer management packs that can plug into MOM. These management packs provide MOM with the metrics necessary for monitoring a specific server application (such as Exchange Server), and not just the Windows operating system. (For an overview of several management packs, please see A look at MOM's 'helpers'.)
Although management packs have been around for a long time, Microsoft now creates them for all new server products. For the most part, these management packs are being produced for MOM 2005.
Redesigned interface means more views
Probably the biggest improvement to MOM 2005 is the interface. Usually, I am not the type to get excited about a product just because there have been a few cosmetic changes to the GUI, but in this case, the changes to the GUI are a big deal.
The whole interface has been completely redesigned to make it a whole lot easier to tell what is going on with your network. For example, if you look at Figure A, you will see the diagram view. The diagram view shows exactly what parts of your network are functioning the way they should and where you have problems. From there, you can drill down for more detailed information about the problems detected.
Other new views include the State view and the Alert view. State view lets you see the health of each server at a glance, and Alert view gives you detailed information about each of the system's alerts. In many cases, the Alert view even provides you with steps for resolving the issue.
Click here to see an example of a screenshot of Diagram view.
Click here to see an example of a screenshot of State view.
Click here to see an example of a screenshot of Alert view.
For a full list of new features and improvements, visit Microsoft's Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/mom/evaluation/whatsnew/default.mspx.
For our favorite management packs for MOM, read our tip, "A look at MOM's helpers."
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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.