Microsoft Management Alliance and .NET Management Services: Helping to Build Better Management Solutions

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 12, 2000 — Most companies today run their businesses on not just one computer system but rather with an assortment of desktop applications, email programs, Internet servers, databases and other specialized technology. What’s more, users are tapping into these increasingly complex networks through multiple entry points ranging from personal computers to Web-enabled, handheld devices.

The challenge of keeping these interconnected systems running smoothly has produced an entire industry of management software vendors, with products designed to manage each piece of a company’s technology network and prevent critical breakdowns, such as employees getting cut off from email or customers being unable to place orders on the corporate Web site. But these management tools must be able to communicate with the systems they are supposed to monitor and with each other, which has often required developers to write special interfaces or protocols for integrating their management products with each different application on the market.

Today at the Intel eXCHANGE e-business conference, Microsoft Corp. announced new offerings designed to help developers more easily and cost-effectively create the underlying communications plumbing for their management software applications built on the Windows operating system. Microsoft also debuted a comprehensive program to support its management software partners in creating the best available management solutions.

Microsoft .NET Management Services is a collection of management technologies and standards within Windows that developers can incorporate into their management software as well as the different types of networked applications that are being managed. As part of the .NET Management Services, Microsoft also announced it will offer a new operations management product based on technology licensed from NetIQ Corp. and cooperate with NetIQ in developing advanced management solutions. In addition, the inaugural Microsoft Management Alliance partner program will provide technical information and marketing resources for developers and independent software vendors that build applications on top of the .NET Management Services.

“One of the fundamental goals behind the overall Microsoft .NET initiative is to enable constellations of computers, devices and services to collaborate more dynamically,”
said David Hamilton, Microsoft group product manager for management technologies.
“The .NET Management Services and the Microsoft Management Alliance support this vision with resources for our partners that make Windows the ideal platform upon which to create solutions for managing a distributed computing environment.”

.NET Management Services

In the 1980s, before printer drivers became a standard part of the operating systems in personal computers, software developers had to write sets of code within their particular application to make sure it could communicate with various printers on the market. Similarly, today’s developers of management software still grapple with writing proprietary code that lets their solutions work with third-party systems or frameworks.
“If you write a management program that monitors databases, for instance, you have to then go and write an agent for each different database out there,”
Hamilton said.
“In many respects, this is fairly low-level grunt work that distracts developers from their core objective of creating robust management solutions.”

Microsoft .NET Management Services take much of that grunt work off developers’ hands by providing a management infrastructure within Windows.
“The management plumbing is already in the operating system, so developers are free to focus on writing really great software,”
Hamilton said. They simply choose the .NET Management tools they need for a particular application rather than
“reinventing the wheel,”
he added, which results in management software with more features, greater reliability, lower development costs and faster time to market.

Microsoft is extending the current Windows infrastructure, which includes technologies such as Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) and Microsoft Management Console (MMC), to offer a broader range of facilities within the .NET Management Services. These industry-standard services include Extensible Markup Language (XML), which maps to WMI; and the MMC Portal, a new management user interface environment that builds on the existing MMC technology by providing XML capabilities.

Categories of functionality within the .NET Management Services range from instrumentation, automation and presentation to change management, configuration management and operations management. Independent software vendors can employ the complete set of .NET Management Services to build solutions that are sure to integrate with other products, including Microsoft Systems Management Server, rather than being constrained by proprietary mechanisms.

Microsoft Management Alliance

Recognizing that great tools are only valuable if people know where to find them, Microsoft has created an online clearinghouse of .NET Management Services technical information and marketing resources to support its management software partners throughout all phases of their products’ life cycle. Known as the Microsoft Management Alliance (MMA), it is the company’s first broad-based partner program created specifically for management software vendors.

The MMA Web site ( ), which launched today and is scheduled to be fully operational by the end of October, will provide technical and marketing resources to help partners develop better management solutions. Technical information on the Web site includes a directory of .NET Management Services white papers, data sheets and other documents; discussion groups involving fellow MMA members and Microsoft employees on various management software development issues; notices about .NET Management Services training opportunities; and a calendar of events such as developer conferences and design reviews. Partners can also use the Web site to promote their finished products to prospective customers through a variety of channels.

“Our goal with the .NET Management Services and the Microsoft Management Alliance is to give companies an unmatched level of support in their quest to create the highest quality management solutions, whether they are just starting to design a product or trying to promote their solution to potential customers on a global scale,”
Hamilton said.
“These technology tools and information resources enable our partners to tap into not only Microsoft’s experience but also the combined expertise of their fellow developers throughout the management software industry, which increases the value of this alliance exponentially.”

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