Microsoft Preps Remote Management Tool for Channel PartnersBy Paula Musich | Print
The new platform targets managing midmarket infrastructure.
Microsoft this week at its Worldwide Partner Conference in Denver will announce plans to release to manufacturing its new Systems Center Remote Operations Manager 2007, intended to help channel partners provide remote management services for their midsize clients.
ROM 2007, which will RTM later this month, works in conjunction with Systems Center Essentials 2007 installed at the customer site to allow channel partners to remotely monitor, maintain, control, update and manage clients' Windows-based PCs and servers over a secure connection.
Microsoft, which on July 9 announced the general availability of Systems Center Essentials 2007, believes ROM 2007 is best suited for managing client sites containing 100 or more PCs. "We're bringing enterprise-class monitoring and management to the midmarket. We believe that this offering will be well-suited for the upper end of midmarket customers," said Jeff Campbell, Microsoft's director of systems center marketing in Redmond, Wash.
Campbell claimed that ROM 2007 allows managed services providers to manage "hundreds" of clients from a single console. "When servers, network devices, applications, databases and Web sites at the customer site are not running well, it will generate an event that's sent to the Remote Operations Manager console, where a technician can respond immediately," Campbell said.
ROM 2007 includes a knowledge base that provides potential fixes for recurring problems or routines that can resolve the issue to help speed remediation. The knowledge base contains suggested actions on how to remediate alerts. Such suggestions can range from restarting a task to more complex procedures.
Technicians from the ROM 2007 console can remotely access functions in Systems Center Essentials 2007 installed at the customer site to manage configurations, remotely install new software or distribute software updates.
At the same time they can take control over remote servers to perform troubleshooting and problem remediation.
ROM 2007 also includes a reporting package that allows the service provider to "communicate tasks that have been performed," as well as report on "uptime, availability and general health of the environment on a regular basis," Campbell said.
Customers can access reports and gather other information using their own Web console. And alerts can be forwarded to mobile devices.
ROM 2007, which will be generally available in October or November, competes with other service provider management platforms such as those from Silverback Technologies and Level Platforms. "We think ours will fit well for those service providers and customers who require the deepest and richest monitoring and management experience for Windows," said Campbell. "Level Platforms has a lighter footprint and a broader set of offerings, but they're not as deep."
Microsoft through its partner organization will provide resellers with a Partner Advisory Service to help them get up to speed on using ROM 2007. It includes access to testing labs, access to best implementation practices and general usage advice.
Campbell said Microsoft is also mulling partner training and certification for ROM 2007, but those decisions have not yet been made. Microsoft first previewed ROM 2007 at last year's partner conference.
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