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Microsoft wants to make software performance simpler for IT departments to manage, and it plans updates to two key systems-management products next year and in 2007 that include new technology for monitoring the health of applications.






Microsoft Outlines Systems-Management Road Map

Microsoft wants to make software performance simpler for IT departments to manage, and it plans updates to two key systems-management products next year and in 2007 that include new technology for monitoring the health of applications.

But much of the plan depends on additional software not yet on the market.

Systems-management software historically has been complex and taken too long to install, Kirill Tatarinov, a corporate VP in Microsoft's Windows and enterprise management division, said in an interview at the Microsoft Management Summit 2005 conference in Las Vegas Tuesday.

In a keynote address at the conference, Tatarinov said, "Some of you may have heard systems management called one of the most boring disciplines in enterprise IT." But better systems-management software can help overcome a "crisis of complexity and cost" in IT departments.

Microsoft's road map looks something like this: The next versions of Microsoft Operations Manager, for monitoring software apps' performance levels, and Systems Management Server, for deploying patches to PCs and servers, will include the ability to understand new XML models generated by Microsoft's development tools.

When developers write apps in Microsoft's upcoming Visual Studio 2005 Team System development tools--currently in beta and scheduled for release by year's end--the tools will create an XML document, or "systems definition model," that will show other Microsoft products, such as Windows or Exchange, how healthy an application is.

These models can broadcast information about whether an application is providing fast enough response time, or coordinating with disk drives correctly, for example.

"Future versions of [Microsoft Operations Manager] and Systems Management Server will be able to consume the system definition model," said Tatarinov.

The new versions of Operations Manager and Systems Management Server are due by 2007, sometime between the release of the latest next client-side version of Windows, code-named Longhorn, next year, and a server-side Longhorn release in '07.

Microsoft software--and potentially products from independent software developers--will be able to read the XML schema created by Visual Studio 2005, which delivers a common way for apps to share information about their state.

The model will be transmitted among software products using the WS-Management protocol specification, which Tatarinov said will start appearing in Microsoft's products with the release of Windows Server 2003 R2, an update to that product due this year.

Tatarinov also said Microsoft plans to turn on a new Web site called Microsoft Update in two months for keeping Windows, Office, Exchange, SQL Server, and Visual Studio up to date with patches. Microsoft's current site, Windows Update, is used to keep some 200 million machines up to date, and 120 million PCs have been successfully updated with Windows XP Service Pack 2.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is scheduled to speak at the conference here Wednesday morning

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