Microsoft snags asset management firm

Microsoft on Wednesday said it has bought a small Canadian asset management company to help improve the asset tracking capabilities in its System Center family of management applications.

In a speech at the Microsoft Management Summit in San Diego, Kirill Tatarinov, corporate vice president for the company's Windows and enterprise management division, also reconfirmed Microsoft's near-term roadmap for its growing family of System Center products, which help corporations manage internal IT.

Buying AssetMetrix, an Ottawa, Canada company that offers Web-based asset management services to corporations, will boost the ease-of-use of Microsoft's Systems Management Server (SMS), Tatarinov said.

No purchase price was disclosed. AssetMetrix's user interface and its database of 300,000 known software applications will be integrated into SMS within nine months, Tatarinov said.

First released in 1994, SMS helps companies configure and set up Windows PCs. SMS 2003 R2 will be released by the end of June. Tatarinov admitted that that would be a "minor release" mostly aimed at fulfilling Microsoft's obligations to its customers on Software Assurance contracts.

SMS, along with Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) -- which helps firms track internal events -- will be renamed in future versions to Systems Center Configuration Manager 2007 and Systems Center Operations Manager 2007, respectively.

Microsoft's System Center family of software competes with HP OpenView, IBM Tivoli, CA Unicenter and Novell ZENWorks, among others.

The public beta of Operations Manager 2007 will be available by early June, with a final version shipping by year's end, Tatarinov said.

The final version of Configuration Manager 2007 will ship in the first half of 2007, along with Microsoft's upcoming virtualization manager product, currently code-named Carmine.

Service Desk 2007, which Microsoft announced yesterday as a new product to help ease the management of help desk calls, will be available in late 2007. R2 of Operations Manager 2007 will ship by year's end.

Tatarinov also noted that Reporting Manager, another new member of the Systems Center family of products, is now available. The product provides business analytical capabilities built on top of the SQL Server database and can help firms meet compliance and service level agreements.

Other members of the System Center family include Capacity Planner, which can help firms with planning deployments of Microsoft Exchange messaging software or Operations Manager. It is freely available to Technet subscribers.

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