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Microsoft expands cloud management licensing to include on-premises tools too

Microsoft expands cloud management licensing to include on-premises tools too

Microsoft Operations Management Suite now packaged with Systems Center

Microsoft Monday announced that customers can now purchase a joint licensing agreement for its cloud-based Operations Management Suite and its on-premises Systems Center infrastructure manager.

Packaging these separate but related management platforms will encourage customers to use public cloud resources and make it easier to manage hybrid clouds.

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Operations Management Suite (OMS) is hosted by Microsoft as software as a service (SaaS), and can be used to manage any combination of Windows and Linux-based on-premises virtual or physical infrastructure, plus Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Service’s public cloud resources.

Microsoft Systems Center is a broader data center management stack for on-premises environments.

“As customers look to be more agile and efficient, they’re exploring how they can leverage the cloud,” says Jeremy Winter, product manager for Systems Center and Services at Microsoft. Organizations are straddling both on-premises infrastructure management and cloud resources, he says. “There’s no longer a single set of management technology inside a company, they’re really using multiple tools.”

OMS’s functionality breaks down into four major categories: Log analysis to see what is currently happening in a cloud and on-premises environment, along with historical logs; IT automation to schedule events to happen (such as spinning up or down instances based on thresholds); backup; and security.

Microsoft does not share statistics on user uptake for OMS, but the company says the product has over 26 petabytes of customer data backed up and it is now growing on average by 325,000 automation jobs per month.

Customers use both OMS, Systems Center

While gaming company Jumpstart isn’t taking advantage of the new licensing offer yet, it is the sort of organization Microsoft has in mind by making this move.

Jumpstart’s diverse IT landscape includes mostly .NET custom-built applications, but also Linux-based LAMP-style apps. It also has workloads in both Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services’ public clouds.

Jumpstart Vice President of platform technology Michael Boldezar, who worked at Microsoft for more than a decade, says he used Systems Center for all his monitoring needs before the gaming company transitioned to the cloud. While Boldezar finds the Systems Center monitoring tools to be thorough, he says real expertise in that software is a must. When Jumpstart began using cloud services, it started using tools from New Relic that worked well but were more expensive than OMS.

Jumpstart now uses OMS to monitor its Azure and AWS clouds, plus its on-premises resources. If one of the apps has slow response time, OMS can help find anomalies in infrastructure performance, and then will work to troubleshoot it by reallocating resources as needed. “We’re a small, fast-moving company,” he says. “OMS gives us that flexibility.”

Gartner researcher Mindy Cancila says OMS is one of a number of Cloud Management Platforms (CMP) in a market that’s far from mature. Customers can buy tools that are native to providers like AWS or they can go with third-party tools, such as Microsoft’s OMS or offerings from RightScale. Cancila says there are four basic functions of a CMP: brokerage of disparate infrastructure resources; operations monitoring; governance and security; and expense management. No one tool on the market does all of these things at a high level, so customers will have to choose which functionality they need the most and find the right tool for that job.

Microsoft OMS starts at $3.50/GB for log analytics, $10 per VM backed up and $0.002 per process automation.

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