Wednesday, September 15, 2004 12:18 PM bart

About MOM 2005, ISA 2004, Virtual Server 2005 and VSMT for Virtual Server 2005 (beta program)

Time for some beta news updates.

MOM 2005 was released recently (together with a new edition called "Workgroup Edition" that can be used for small environments - see http://www.microsoft.com/mom/evaluation/editions/default.mspx for a comparison with the full-sized edition). I don't have much expertise with MOM (only been running/testing it inside a Virtual Server environment last summer) myself but have heard from several people that it's a promising release of the product. By coincidence I got enrolled in the MOM 2005 beta program somewhere in mid-2003 after attending the preconference day about "Manageability" at TechEd Europe 2003 (quite exception for somebody who's concentrating primary on development, but I'd like to get updated on this point). Currently, Microsoft is working on integrating management technology (SMS and MOM) in one suite called "System Center" of which the roadmap was already announched back on TechEd 2003 at the pre-conference. Something to follow up definitely if you're interested in system manageability and patch management (SUS, WUS et al).

There's also the amazing new release of ISA Server 2004 which I'm already running on a mid-sized network (see http://www.microsoft.com/ISAServer/). In fact, a couple of years ago I started to teach myself ISA 2000 using Thomas Shinder's "ISA Server 2000 bible" but never reached the chapters with the real content :-(. With ISA 2004 I was able to set up and configure the system as a proxy/firewall/server publisher in less than one working day (network with 4 servers and about 50 clients) (and the "ISA Server 2004 bible" of Thomas is already ordered :-), hopefully I get beyond the first couple of chapters now). A very good community site on ISA Server 2004 management is www.isaserver.org. The only problem I still have to solve is the publishing of my Exchange 2003 OWA (superb product as well) on the internet which did not work very will at the first attempt (certificates mess and problems publishing the web server directly). Luckily I found a work-around by defining another protocol (Custom HTTP) for TCP port 80 to add the publishing rule manually to the policy without having to use the built-in support for publishing a web server (but I definitely want to sort this out so that I can start using the rich built-in functionality).

The Virtual Server 2005 product is likely to ship one of the upcoming days/weeks since there are several planned launch events announced on the homepage of the product and is one of my favorite (non-directly-developer-related) product releases of 2004 (beside of XP SP2 which has gone through a long and hard beta phase but the result was double-worth the time spended on this massive update). I'm running it on my primary machine since the early beta's as the "big brother of Virtual PC". I've been posting on my blog about my experiences with this and have only had a few difficulties which were solved pretty fast. Nevertheless, I've sent a bunch of product feedback and suggestions to the VS team already and apparently they liked it (special thanks to guntherb to bring me in contact with the guys).

Since a couple of hours I'm on the beta program of VSMT (Virtual Server Migration Toolkit) which is a (series of) tool(s) tool help IT admins to migrate a physical server machine to a virtual machine that can run inside Virtual Server. Pretty cool stuff. If you're interested in the beta (and participating on it) check out http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/virtualserver/evaluation/vsmtbeta.mspx. I'm actually involved on Virtual Server testing since the early bits and have been active at the ATE (ask the experts) booth @ TechEd 2004 Europe for Virtual Server. I'll publish some information for developers soon on how to programmatically approach Virtual Server in C# (which is pretty simple to do thanks to the comprehensive API). I'm super-curious to take a look at VSMT in the upcoming days/weeks since I only saw the big overview on TechEd 2004 in a session of ADS/VSMT (which I attended in order to be prepared for the ATE-questions on VSMT - and yes, the questions came up already a couple of minutes after the presentation :-)).

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