by April 12, 2005 0 comments

If you have multiple Windows 2000 or 2003 Servers running on your network, then this product could be worth considering for managing them. Microsoft Operations Manager, as the name suggests lets you monitor all your Windows servers, provide their uptime status and health information, all from a single location. It can, among other things detect and report server failures, server capacity problems and performance related problems. It’s available for both large and medium networks. 

Installing the software, however, requires some careful planning, and the prerequisites are also pretty extensive. This is because it has a number of components that need to be installed. For instance, to do a full install of MOM, you’ll need Microsoft SQL Server 2000 (SP3 or above), ASP.NET and the .NET framework. Plus, you’ll also have to enable IIS. Thankfully, the MOM setup screen has a button that checks whether you have the pre-requisites for installing the components you’ve selected. 

There are a number of functions that MOM is capable of performing. One of them is a feature that lets you collect and filter event data from managed servers. It filters the logs to the filter set by administrator, so that it shows only the relevant information. MOM also supports processor health rules that can be set to give you alerts when specific events or performance conditions occur. The interesting thing is that MOM has a knowledge base that explains the impact of certain events on performance conditions and offers advice on different ways to fix them. 

Another powerful feature of MOM is scripting. When a critical error occurs that might damage the network, then MOM will not only alert you but also take automatic corrective action through scripts. This corrective action could be restarting the server or a particular service. 

MOM supports scripting, which means in case of a critical error not only it will inform you, but will also take automatic corrective action. These scripts and rules are available in the form of management packs

Setting all those rules and reports on your own is quite a time consuming and tedious task. MOM has a solution for this as well called management packs, which have predefined rules and scripts. Thus, there is no need to define the rules and scripts manually. These management packs are available for most Microsoft business products like MS Exchange, SQL Server, DNS, IIS, clustering services, etc. Some management packs come bundled with MOM, while many others come with the server applications you want to manage. Yet more are still under development, including management packs for third party software. 

MOM can also generate a diagram of your network automatically by detecting all connected machines to the MOM server. You can even choose the shape in which you want to view the diagram (such as circular, with the server at the center and clients around it) by changing diagram properties. 

Besides showing error messages, MOM also has a comprehensive knowledge base, which even tries to provide you multiple solutions to the error. MOM has agents that need to be installed on all the machines you want to manage. These give you just about every detail you need for the server. The good thing is that MOM can automatically detect all your servers and even let’s you remotely deploy the agents to them. Plus, it even gives you the option to login through remote desktop to any Windows server. 

The Bottom Line: Overall, it’s a great product if you have multiple Windows servers on your network that you want to manage. It’s not the right choice, of course, if you want to manage other servers or hardware such as switches and routers. The product is available in two editions, one is the Enterprise edition, which comes with 10 OMLs (Operations Management Licenses); while the other is Workgroup edition, which doesn’t have any

Ankit Kawatra and Sanjay Majumder

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