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Microsoft Outlines System Center Road Map

Paula Rooney

Formerly known as Microsoft Operations Manager v3, System Center Operations Manager 2007 provides end-to-end event, service and application monitoring and reporting.

The platform supports Service Model Language (SML) for monitoring IT and software services -- required for service-level agreements -- and features audit collection services for compliance auditing and a customizable reporting tool.

At the Microsoft Management Summit, which started Tuesday in San Diego, the Redmond, Wash., software giant also announced a technology licensing agreement with EMC that will bolster the network management capabilities of System Center Operations Manager 2007. As part of the deal, Microsoft said it will integrate EMC's Smarts network discovery and health monitoring software into a future version of Operations Manager.

In addition, Microsoft, EMC and Cisco unveiled a pact to develop a set of network common models that exploit the SML to simplify network management. As part of the arrangement, the companies have submitted SML -- which is based on Microsoft's System Definition (SDM) Model -- for adoption as a standard to the W3C. That would allow partners and customers to manage software and hardware, as well as Windows systems, on the System Center platform.

Operations Manager 2007 is just one of several System Center products Microsoft is preparing for release this year.

System Center Configuration Manager 2007, formerly referred to as Systems Management Server v4, is scheduled to ship this summer. To add more value to the software configuration and deployment platform, Microsoft plans to roll out an add-on for Configuration Manager 2007 after it ships that will support Intel's next-generation vPro client management technology, code-named Weybridge, which is also due for a midyear release.

Microsoft also highlighted its progress in virtualization, backup and service management.

System Center Virtual Manager, formerly code-named Carmine, will move into Beta 2 testing in the next 45 days, the company said. And the second version of System Center Data Protection Manager -- which will provide backup and recovery for SharePoint 2007, Virtual Server 2005, Windows XP and Windows Vista -- will move into Beta 2 testing in the next 30 days.

Microsoft also announced System Center Service Manager, the formal name of its former Service Desk offering, and said plans to release the first beta in the next 30 days.

In addition, Microsoft announced an update for partners and customers awaiting Systems Management Server Service Pack 3. SMS Service Pack 3 with AssetMetrix software asset-management capabilities will be released to manufacturing this spring, the company said.

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