MOM tends to Windows servers' needs
Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 provides a host of useful new features, but maintains its devotion to the Windows Server product lineFollow @infoworld
Testing management products like Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 is always a tricky process: Traditional performance isn't nearly as important as day-to-day management features and know-how.
So, to give this product a real-world run-through, I took MOM 2005 out of the lab and installed it at a willing client site running eight Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 servers and an AIX server. The results showed an obvious improvement over MOM 2000 and a clear spot for MOM in enterprises built on the Windows server platform.
Install Ups and Downs
The nine-server test site was a mite small compared to typical MOM enterprise deployments, but effective enough for evaluation purposes. Though Microsoft's MOM 2005 Deployment Guide has instructions for upgrading from MOM 2000, my installation was done from the ground up. Upgrading or not, administrators need to prepare for significant work during this initial install phase.
Installation involves the server/console, which carries the core MOM operations and reporting capabilities, additional monitoring consoles, and client-side installations. In ground-up installations like ours, you'll probably also need to install WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation)-enabling add-ons, available from Microsoft. These code snippets are required on an OS and application level to provide WMI data to management systems.
The console and workstation installations are straightforward enough, but it's the client installations that pull out MOM's real value. These client installations mostly involve MOM Management Packs, which are application specific, covering core server topics (typically bundled with your initial purchase of MOM), including Active Directory, DNS, IIS, and similar server applications.
Additional packs currently cover only Microsoft products, including SQL Server, BizTalk Server, and the like, but Microsoft promises management packs for third-party server software products in the near future. You can also write your own using MOM's Management Pack Developer's Guide.
Without a server-specific management pack, MOM provides only basic health-monitoring features, including on/off-line status and memory and disk usage. The Management Packs add all the real intelligence, including custom reporting, in-depth process monitoring specific to that server application, and customized process and data-gathering scripts.
This last feature represents the biggest hurdle to installing MOM 2005. Management Pack set-up requires installing the software and running a certain series of performance-monitoring scripts for 24 hours or more. This procedure gives MOM 2005 a baseline of performance data.
This initial baseline will reveal any outstanding problems with a server installation, but it needs to be run in strict accordance with the Deployment Guide to achieve a proper installation. Worse, each Management Pack has its own set of scripts that must be run this way.
These set-up circumstances are not a huge ding against the product, but they should ring as a loud warning to administrators that MOM 2005 will require significant attention to initial installation and user training. Even administrators familiar with MOM 2000 will find MOM 2005 different enough (especially from the Management Pack perspective) to require significant training.