Q&A: Industry-wide Initiative Helps IT Professionals Reduce Complexity and Cost



David Hamilton, Director, Windows&Enterprise Management Division

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Nov. 16, 2005 — During his keynote address this morning at Microsoft IT Forum, Microsoft chairman and chief software architect, Bill Gates, highlighted the challenges IT professionals today face in managing increasingly complex computer systems.

In his address to the 3,000 gathered at Microsoft’s premier European conference for IT professionals, Gates highlighted the company’s long-term objective to deliver a technology platform that reduces cost and complexity. Central to this is the management of enterprise systems.

Under this umbrella falls the Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI), which is a Microsoft-led industry effort to dramatically simplify and automate how businesses design, deploy and operate their enterprise systems.

PressPass spoke with David Hamilton, Microsoft’s director of the Windows and Enterprise Management Division, to find out where this initiative is now and where it is heading.

PressPass: Can you give us an overview of Microsoft’s enterprise management strategy?

David Hamilton : Customers tell us that their existing management solutions for their IT systems are insufficient. They don’t provide the return on investment customers expect to receive.

Traditionally the building of management solutions comes very late in the cycle, after products are released, and the management solution in essence is meant to cover over the cracks.

We took a different approach with the Dynamic Systems Initiative, which assumes that management information can be built into hardware and software right at development time. We believe that this will revolutionize the whole process of enterprise management.

PressPass: What is the overall goal of DSI?

Hamilton: We want to drive down the cost and complexity of managing and supporting hardware and software, while keeping the focus on delivering business values. To do this we need to build closer cooperation among developers and IT professionals because the design and support of new systems requires considerable time and cross-team coordination.

PressPass: Where does the initiative stand now?

Hamilton: We are still early in the initiative. We view DSI as a 10-year effort for Microsoft and its partners. We also see it as a multi-billion dollar effort to change the way we and our partners develop software and hardware.

Although we are early in the effort, there are some markers along the way. First, we’ve made efforts around MOM 2005 — an event- and performance-management tool for Windows Server System — to simplify identification of issues, streamline the process for determining the root cause of problems, and facilitate quick resolution to restore services or to prevent potential outages before they occur. These efforts are captured in the MOM Management Packs.

Second, I’d like to call out our work with Microsoft Visual Studio. The next version of Visual Studio, which ships in the middle of 2005, will have these models build into it.

With Visual Studio 2005 Team System, Microsoft is delivering a set of new designers that enable operations managers and application architects to collaborate early in the development phase to ensure systems are designed with operational requirements in mind.

Third is our ability to interoperate with other systems. The tools are designed to provide a great experience while managing Windows operating systems and to interoperate with the tools used to manage non-Windows-based environments.

PressPass: Is there a technology at the heart of DSI?

Hamilton: Yes, models are at the heart of DSI. We believe that you need models in hardware and software to change the way that management is done.

DSI is about designing software that has an inherent knowledge built into it. This can be knowledge of the designers’ intent for those systems knowledge of the environment in which systems operate, knowledge of IT policies that govern those systems or knowledge of the user experience associated with those systems. This knowledge must be captured in software models. Today software models for hardware and software are found in the form of management packs for Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM).

PressPass: Where do industry partners fit in?

Hamilton: I’d like to mention our work with the industry in applying Web services standards. With AMD, Dell, Intel and Sun Microsystems, Microsoft recently announced the publication of WS-Management, a Web services specification that addresses cost and complexity of IT management by providing a common way for systems to access and exchange management information. Industry partners fit into this in a number of ways. Yesterday, we made an announcement with Dell related to DSI.

Dell allows us to extend the DSI vision all the way through to hardware so that the IT professional can get an end-to-end view of all their systems. We believe that hardware vendors focusing on making their systems inherently manageable is just as important as software vendors having the same focus.

Microsoft is also working with other software vendors to encourage them to build management applications. For example, Vintela, with whom we made a strategic investment today, enables our customers to extend the management of their systems beyond the Windows platform.

Finally, Microsoft is working with other management vendors to make sure that models can be shared and interchanged. This is through efforts such as WS-Management effort.

PressPass: What type of investments has Microsoft made in this process?

Hamilton: It is equally important that we take DSI to heart ourselves and make sure we build our software in such a way that it is inherently manageable.

We’ve first evangelized and then encouraged the various application developers around Microsoft to be early users of DSI.