Ballmer Memo Touts Microsoft's Work To Improve Software Management

Apr 28, 2004 (12:04 PM EDT)

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Wednesday sent a letter to customers that trumpets the company's Dynamic Systems Initiative and management software lineup, including the planned Systems Center 2005, and points out its work with ISV partners to enable management of mixed systems and applications in the data center.

Microsoft's Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI), which is similar to Hewlett-Packard's Adaptive Infrastructure and IBM's On-Demand strategies, aims to bring enhanced management and flexibility to the data center.

As the era of computing moves beyond the "back office" to advanced distributed systems, mobile devices and advanced business intelligence, many business customers "try and cope with this through IT outsourcing and additional layers of management software, which often add complexity and inflexibility," Ballmer wrote in his e-mail, dubbed "Managing IT For Business Value. In the brief memo, he said one study by Accenture indicated that IT professionals spend 70 percent of their time maintaining existing systems.

As part of its Windows-based DSI plan, Microsoft shipped Systems Management Server 2003 late last year, and last month the Redmond, Wash., software vendor entered final beta testing its Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 and the first beta version of System Center 2005, a new management platform that combines SMS 2003 and MOM 2005 into a unified platform. Those platforms are designed to give customers automated deployment, configuration and monitoring tools for Windows, generating realtime feedback of system performance.

In the next version of Visual Studio, Ballmer said Microsoft also plans to integrate new "Design For Operations management hooks that make it possible for developers to create .Net-based software that's easier to manage out of the box."

Though some industry observers have criticized Microsoft's DSI blueprint as too Windows-focused, Ballmer's memo said the company is working on a comprehensive strategy for managing Windows and other systems and applications that run with it.

"Over the next few years, we will continue to deliver advanced solutions, such as System Center 2005, which bring our existing management tools together and add enhancements that simplify and optimize basic IT management tasks," Ballmer said in the memo. "We are working with partners to make it possible for Microsoft customers to manage Unix, Linux and Mac computers in conjunction with Systems Management Server 2003 and to manage hardware devices such as desktops and servers through solutions that update hardware-based software components, using the same familiar interfaces that an administrator would use to update software applications."

Microsoft, too, is working with ISVs to make it easier to manage third-party business applications on the Windows system, Ballmer added.

"We are collaborating with partners to make existing business applications easier to manage on the Windows platform," he said in the memo. "For example, we're collaborating with Siebel Systems to make it possible to manage their eBusiness applications using Microsoft Operations Manager."