Microsoft is to incorporate its own interpretation of the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) into tools to help customers get a faster return on investment (ROI) from its systems management products.
David Hamilton, director of Microsoft's management solutions group in the US, told vnunet.com that new products would focus more on the process of systems management with a strong emphasis on hitting service levels.
The software giant has already developed an interpretation of ITIL specifically for the Microsoft environment.
A series of products is due out later this year based on the Microsoft Operations Framework, a collection of best practice, principles and models, to help customers use the company's systems management tools in a process-oriented way.
"We think [ITIL] is a great thing, but it talks in very generic terms," said Hamilton. "The challenge is that service management is very abstract and conceptual.
"We can take some of the ITIL understanding and say, for example, that to use Microsoft Operations Manager to manage Exchange requires the following steps and will help deliver the following levels of services.
"It makes it much easier for an organisation to get up and running with these things. We hope people will get a quicker ROI from the management tools."
Hamilton added that the growth of web services is driving demand for systems management products that work across applications and servers.
Microsoft is developing new products for both server and client management, although Hamilton warned that products are at least two years away.
"If you can't identify where an application is running, the challenges of management are great," he said.
"Rather than manage Exchange, I might manage a web ordering or database analysis system running on a number of applications or boxes."
Meanwhile, Microsoft's Systems Management Server 2003 is going into beta in the next few weeks with hundreds of customers around the world.
New features will focus on the management of remote clients and Windows CE support, according to Hamilton.
"Traditionally systems management products take years to deploy and will realise their ROI over many years," he explained.
"But we've tried to develop solutions that focus on specific pain areas and deliver benefits quite quickly.
"The industry as a whole has under-delivered over the years, and we see that as a very exciting challenge."
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