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Microsoft Offers Tool To Manage Clouds -- Including AWS

Microsoft continued its assault on cloud market leader Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) with the introduction of a tool to manage resources in clouds of any type, including AWS.

Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS) was unveiled last week along with numerous other products and services at the enterprise-oriented Ignite show in Chicago.

Again, as with its recent positioning of SQL Azure Data Warehouse as an alternative to Amazon's Redshift counterpart, Microsoft made no mistake about who it was targeting with its new management tool.

"Gain control over any hybrid cloud," the product's Web site states. "Manage Azure or AWS, Windows Server or Linux, VMware or OpenStack with our cost-effective, all-in-one cloud IT management solution."

In a blog post last week, Microsoft exec Jeremy Winter expounded on the theme.

Microsoft Operational Management Suite
[Click on image for larger view.] Microsoft Operations Management Suite (source: Microsoft)

"OMS extends your System Center investments and helps simplify management of your datacenter assets wherever they live," Winter said. "That means any instance in any cloud, including your datacenter, Azure, AWS, Windows Server, Linux, VMware, and OpenStack, at a lower cost than competitive solutions. OMS leverages a cloud-first approach to managing your enterprise for a fast and cost-effective way to meet new business challenges and accommodate new workloads, applications and cloud environments."

Amazon itself provides the AWS Management Console and a companion mobile app, and a host of third-party options are available, such as RightScale, SCALR, enStratus and mist.io. These and many others are discussed in the Quora topic, "What is the best Amazon AWS management tool?"

Despite those options, Winter said Microsoft developed the tool in response to feedback from customers, who are facing an increasingly difficult task of maintaining system stability in a time of agile development teams and datacenter assets scattered throughout different environments, including physical on-premises systems, virtualized setups or clouds.

Capabilities of the new tool are centered on providing log analytics, automation, availability and security.

Microsoft said the tool is built upon an analytics platform, and OMS lets users collect, store and analyze data collected in logs from any source to guide real-time operational intelligence decisions.

Interacting with real-time and historical machine data, improved troubleshooting functionality lets users quickly search through the data to investigate and fix issues.

The automation capability lets users offload manual and oft-repeated tasks to the machine. It also lets admins "create, monitor, manage and deploy resources in your hybrid cloud environment using runbooks, based on Windows PowerShell workflows," the company said.

For availability, OMS provides backup and integrated recovery for all servers and applications, wherever they are.

Security measures help identify malware status, collect info on security events and perform forensics, including audit and breach analysis. Patch management will be coming soon, Microsoft said.

Those initial capabilities will be improved upon, Winter said.

"Are we done?" he asked. "Not even close. We will continue to iterate quickly with you as we enhance both our cloud and on-premises capabilities. We have a pipeline of innovation already underway for areas like cloud-based patching, inventory, alerting, container management and more."

Pricing details separated into operational insights, backup, site recovery and automation can be found here.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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