Recently, I mentioned that, despite rumors, Microsoft still fully intends to support System Center Service Manager. It seems, at times, that Service Manager is the red-headed stepchild of the System Center product suite. It's like Pippi Longstocking without the pigtails, or Carrot Top without the horribly annoying slapstick humor. Bucktoothed and ugly, Service Manager just doesn’t get the same focus as the other products.

Microsoft wants to change that.

After my original post about renewed support for Service Manager, I received a couple comments like "I'll believe it when I see it" and "we've heard all this before with System Center Essentials."

Side note: System Center Essentials 2010 is the last version and Microsoft will no longer provide updates for it.

To help show that Microsoft has vested interest in keeping Service Manager around for a while, they've met the criticism with action.

On February 25th Microsoft began a new program called the SM Agile TAP initiative. This new program pulls together customers who are willing to test beta code for Service Manager and then give feedback. Microsoft's intent is to release new code to test every two weeks and then based on the feedback, start turning Service Manager into a better product (if that's possible).

Per a post on the Service Manager Engineering Blog, the first code-drop included fixes for the sluggish UI and other "oddities and quirks." A second code-drop is scheduled shortly and will contain another thirteen fixes including:

  • five fixes to those nasty console crashes and exceptions
  • a performance improvement to improve the render time for the "Request Offering" form when creating a new service request
  • a fix for not picking up the Lync “sip” endpoint when emailing users from the console
  • a fix for keeping asset information between SM and CM in sync
  • a design change to retrieve attachments from closed Release Records
  • and four other fixes in the internals of the system

Let's hope this program is a success and that it continues so Service Manager can stop eating gruel in the corner and sit at the banquet table with the other System Center products (well, except for System Center Essentials).