Many IT administrators use Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) to monitor their Microsoft enterprise servers and manage their IT infrastructure. But keeping your infrastructure up and running doesn't mean only the servers—it also includes applications. Today's applications are complex entities that rely on many components, such as firewalls, routers, Web servers, domain controllers (DCs), database servers, application servers, and, yes, even the application code itself. One of IT's challenges is, how do you monitor applications and troubleshoot problems for these complex, distributed applications? Further, we all know that no matter how well applications are tested, sooner or later application problems surface in production.

AVIcode provides two editions of its .NET Management Pack (MP) product, which integrates with MOM's infrastructure management capabilities to bridge the gap between operations and development for .NET-application problem resolution. AVIcode's .NET MP Operations-Edition provides basic application monitoring and is a free download available at www.avicode.com/license generator/registerbasic.aspx. AVIcode's .NET MP Enterprise Edition is a licensed product and provides advanced application diagnostic capabilities. Both products provide root-cause information for application failure, standardized information about application health monitoring, and don't require any application code changes—meaning developers don't need to write MOM-aware application code, an important point if you're dealing with dozens of different applications.

AVIcode's .NET MP consists of three primary installation components: a server management agent, the Structured Event Viewer (SE-Viewer), and the MOM 2000/2005 MP. MOM can seamlessly install the server management agent on the .NET application server (which requires either Windows Server 2000 or Windows Server 2003 with the .NET Framework 1.1 Service Pack 1—SP1). The server management agent attaches dynamically to any .NET application and uses port 80 or HTTP Secure (HTTPS) port 443 to send event notifications (such as application exceptions and errors) to the SE-Viewer.

You install the SE-Viewer and .NET Management Pack on the management server that's running MOM; the installation takes only a few seconds. When you configure the SE-Viewer, you need to select the applications to monitor and any custom application-monitoring settings. The SEViewer collects information for one or more server management agents and forwards this summary information to MOM. In addition, the SE-Viewer can also forward application defect information to Visual Studio 2005 Team System, if you're using this application to create project work items. (For more information about using AVIcode products without MOM, see "AVIcode Intercept Studio 2.3.")

When you install the .NET Management Pack, it adds a new role to MOM called .NET Applications. The .NET Applications role lets you see the status of .NET Web and Web services applications on the MOM management console. The .NET Management Pack operates in two modes: standard or enterprise mode. You use the task wizard to switch between modes: Use standard mode to monitor basic operations, and use enterprise mode to receive advanced diagnostic information. If an application exception occurs or the application performance exceeds the thresholds you configured, icons associated with the .NET application turn from green to red. When you're troubleshooting a problem, you can use MOM's Event Viewer to view application events, or the SE-Viewer to see detailed event information.

AVIcode's .NET Management Pack enhances MOM's functionality to integrate the management of .NET applications with the management of your IT infrastructure. I recommend AVIcode's .NET MP product for any company that is using MOM and running mission-critical .NET applications.