Interview: MS's autonomic IT plan starts with dev tools

Interview: MS's autonomic IT plan starts with dev tools

Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Microsoft's enterprise storage and management divisions, is one of the architects of the autonomic computing plan that the software vendor announced in March. Muglia spoke with Computerworld US about Microsoft's efforts to sell IT managers on its Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI) approach.

Q: What differentiates DSI from the autonomic computing technology offered by other vendors?

The key distinction we're making is that we're looking at what we can do to the developer tools to make it easy to build applications that, later on, can be managed through the operations part of the life cycle. When IBM (Corp.) talks about autonomic computing, they often talk about the resource-balancing nature of it, and that is something we're also focused on.

However, I'm less concerned about the use of computer resources in a data center and more concerned about the people cost of developing, deploying and operating applications. By capturing management knowledge at the development stage of an application as we do, there's a lot to be done to lower the cost of operating these systems.

Q: How will you get users interested in the DSI concept in this economy?

People have to see value in technology producing business results. If you have pre-existing systems that are running, in a lot of senses the cheapest thing you can do is continue to run them and not make changes. You'll always incur cost when you make changes, and the change doesn't always benefit you the way you want. (So we plan to) generate excitement for DSI by making sure people understand that this is the place where they can deliver business value, and in the process, they can roll out applications more quickly and manage them more effectively. As a platform vendor, we think holistically about that. We think about enhancing development tools, what we do in the operating system, what we do within the management pieces, and we think there's a lot of advantage in having that top-to-bottom approach.

Q: What's the revenue potential of DSI?

I can talk about what our objectives are, and our objectives are to provide a better environment for people in the Windows platform. (DSI) is not revenue-driven in the sense of driving revenue for management tools, but (it is) focused on making Windows Server more competitive in the marketplace. That's the foundation of what we need to do to grow our business.

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