Microsoft System Center gets cross-platform support

A new beta technology for System Center lets it natively manage Linux and Unix environments as well as systems virtualized by VMware's ESX

Microsoft has released beta technologies that allow its network-management software to manage non-Windows environments as part of the company's strategy to make its software more conducive to managing large datacenters.

Microsoft is releasing beta technology Tuesday for products in its System Center suite that allows the software to natively manage Linux and Unix environments as well as systems virtualized by VMware's ESX virtualization technology, said Larry Orecklin, general manager, of System Center marketing. The company unveiled the news at its Microsoft Management Summit (MMS), which is in Las Vegas this week.

Previously, Microsoft's management suite -- which has gone through several product, name, and pricing changes over the past couple of years as Microsoft has honed its strategy -- only managed Windows environments. But Microsoft is recognizing that to make its software a viable option for managing the datacenter, it must support heterogeneous environments, and it is extending the product for that purpose.

Microsoft leverages two community projects promoting open protocols for network management -- Web Services for Management and OpenPegasus -- to enable cross-platform support. Microsoft also has joined the steering committee for the OpenPegasus project and will contribute royalty-free code to the project, Orecklin said.

In another move to support cross-platform network management, Microsoft Tuesday is releasing a beta of Virtual Machine Manager 2008 that adds support for VMware ESX virtualized environments, news that was previously reported.

Virtual Machine Manager, recently added to Microsoft's System Center product family, manages virtual machines on a network. In a private meeting with reporters last week on Microsoft's Redmond, Washington, campus, Orecklin said Microsoft sees network management as the key business model for virtualization going forward as the technology itself becomes commoditized.

Microsoft also Tuesday is releasing beta versions of new connectors that integrate System Center Operations Manager with other management software, such as IBM's Tivoli and Hewlett-Packard's OpenView, he said. Microsoft is releasing all of the new technologies to MMS attendees as well as online.