What’s the big deal about MOF?

If you look at Microsoft’s website these days, there are several indications (unrelated to various trade rag articles about it back in January) that the release of Operations Manager 2007 may be imminent. First, you can look at Microsoft’s Management Pack Catalog (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=43970) to see a search category added for Operations Manager 2007 management packs. Second, if you are signed up for the OpsMgr 2007 beta, the Connect website shows a new document named OpsMgr_RC2_to_RTM_Upgrade.doc, dated March 23.
If you have read any of the advance datasheets or whitepapers for Opsmgr 2007, you will notice discussions about model-based monitoring and MOF. What’s the big deal about MOF?
More than just another TLA (Three Letter Acronym), the Microsoft Operations Framework is geared towards managing Microsoft technologies. It is a structured methodology used to describe IT operations, and Operations Manager is a tool to implement that framework using model-based monitoring.
At its core, the MOF is a collection of best practices, principles, and models. The MOF Process Model includes four quadrants:
  • Changing – representing instances where new service solutions, technologies, systems, applications, hardware, and processes are introduced.
  • Operating – concentrates on performing day-to-day tasks effeciently and effectively.
  • Supporting – respresents the resolution of incidents, problems, and inquiries, preferably in a timely manner.
  • Optimizing – focuses on minimizing costs while optimizing performance, capacity, and availability in delivering IT services.
Now let’s think about Operations Manager. It is a tool that incorporates model-based management, and best practices and principles as incorporated in its knowledge base and rules. How does that tie in with the quadrants of the MOF Process Model?
  • Changing – as you add new components to your environment, you should investigate whether a Microsoft or third-party management pack is available to monitor that particular applicatoin, system, or hardware solution (if not, you can always define your own, building a model that describes the "vital signs" and monitoring attributes of that application).
  • Operating – Operations Manager includes operational tasks that can be initiatated from the Operations console. These tasks are loaded into the Management Server with various management packs, and you may also define your own tasks.
  • Supporting – Operations Manager is all about monitoring daily operations. Using management packs, one can interpret and act on information gathered from each monitored component to resolve difficulties.
  • Optimizing – by using Operations Manager to minimize your downtime and keep your operations running smoothly, you are able to minimize operating costs and reduce system outages which ultimately will cost your company money!

Even more than its MOM 2005 predecessor, Operations Manager 2007 incorporates principals of MOF, model-based management, DSI, SDL, and XML thoughout. DSL focuses on automating data center operational jobs and reducing associated labor through self-managing systems. SML, which is based on XML, can be used to create a blueprint of a system, defining system elements and capturing data pertinent to development, deployment, and operatons – making that model relevant across the entire IT life cycle. OpsMgr 2007 captures knowledge through models, putting that knowledge in a structure that the software can act on. By incorporating models and methods for monitoring within its mangement packs, Operations Manager 2007 uses a structured approach to determine if there are situations requiring attention.

Operations Manager is more than just an upgrade to MOM 2005, as it is a complete rewrite. What’s new in OpMgr 2007? That would be a really long blog entry! We look forward to its release and will keep you updated with future articles about OpsMgr 2007.  

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