Microsoft is leading an industrywide effort called Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI), whose goal is to provide software that maximizes resources and decreases labor costs across the entire IT life cycle. Microsoft's first major step in this initiative is the introduction of System Center 2005, which will likely be released in late 2004. This product combines Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 and Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005 to provide integrated enterprise management capabilities. One important benefit of this product integration is that you'll be able to license all three products as a suite and install them from a single setup program. Another important benefit is data consolidation. The System Center 2005 data warehouse will contain data collected from both SMS 2003 and MOM 2005. Because of this marrying of SMS and MOM data, you'll be able to enhance your systems management capabilities. For example, you can correlate performance data from MOM with patch deployment from SMS. You can then see the impact of configuration changes on the performance of servers.

The next major step in Microsoft's implementation of DSI will be the second version of System Center, which Microsoft plans to release in the Longhorn timeframe. (Longhorn is the next version of Windows. For more information about Longhorn, see "New Features in Longhorn," http://www.winnetmag.com/article/articleid41986/41986.html.) What this version will look like is to be determined. Chances are Microsoft will maintain or enhance the core strengths of SMS and MOM and add new features that make more complex systems management and monitoring scenarios easier to tackle.