made good on its pledge to offer its own self-managing computer tools Tuesday when it unveiled new software to ensure that servers and PCs run more smoothly.
The idea behind self-managing software is that it governs computer systems to maintain balance. For example, computers and networks often experience an ebb and flow in traffic, or peaks and valleys in computing requirements that can be taxing on a system, sometimes causing it to crash. Software makers have been coming up with products to help enterprises cope with those issues.
The Redmond, Wash. outfit drew the curtain on its System Center product and Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI) software architecture this afternoon at the Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas.
System Center, which is slated to debut next year, is made up of two products: Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2004, a tool for monitoring, managing and evaluating Windows, and Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003, whose arrival is predicated on MOM 2004. MOM 2004 will contain such features as auto-alert resolution, state monitoring, topological views, an intuitive task-based operator console, broader management pack support and state-of-the-art reporting.
System Center will apply to enterprise management scenarios, including desktops, laptops, personal digital assistants, applications and servers. The firm will eventually offer SMS 2003 add-on packs supporting features for Pocket PC devices running the Windows CE operating system. Nearing final testing stages, Microsoft plans to release SMS 2003 gold code in September.
DSI centers on a System Definition Model (SDM) a new XML-based technology geared to maintain Windows systems, as well as helping to manage security and bug fixes. Microsoft will add SDM to future releases of the Visual Studio developer tools, applications and management solutions, which will ultimately make it possible for developers to build application support for System Center to make self-optimizing software.
Windows Server 2003 will feature these technologies under the DSI: provisioning and administration tool; dynamic systems resource management; storage virtualization; dynamic load-balancing for incoming traffic; clustering; and a virutal server for consolidation and migration.
Some of the technologies of DSI will begin showing up in Windows Server 2003 in April, but Microsoft Tuesday made the provisioning tool available with the beta release of Automated Deployment Services (ADS). ADS helps customers reduce the complexity and cost associated with managing datacenters. It allows hundreds of Microsoft Windows Server system images to be deployed across their environments in minutes, instead of days or weeks.
DSI is backed by Centrata, Computer Associates, Consera Software, Dell, EDS, HP, Opsware and Think Dynamics.
Microsoft hopes to join a market fray that already includes familiar competitors such as HP, which offers Adaptive Infrastructure, and IBM, which is perhaps the farthest along in the race with its Autonomic Computing Initiative.
Less than two weeks ago, IBM jazzed up its own autonomic computing offerings, introducing a suite of technologies that allow IT systems to react in real-time to unpredictable surges in demand and deploy computing resources to handle them. Meanwhile, HP touts Adaptive Infrastructure as a means to "adapt to change in the enterprise."
The company joins what analysts say is a lucrative market for computers that govern themselves.