Had a great time last night at the VANTUG General Meeting. Excellent turn out too - almost every seat was filled.
I demonstrated Microsoft Operations Manager 2005. This is a very cool technology for those of us who are responsible for the care and feeding of a bunch of servers. MOM 2005 is part of Microsoft System Center, which also includes Systems Management Server. And Microsoft System Center is a key player in the Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI), one of Microsoft's three major initiatives (along with Trustworthy Computing and the .NET Platform).
The Dynamic Systems Initiative focuses on making all aspects of software and hardware manageable. At the software level that means building applications with management in mind - the most obvious thing putting Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) points throughout your application. Software like SQL Server and Exchange report a steady stream of WMI data points to anyone listening. Think of it as SNMP on steroids. And MOM is all about consuming WMI data.
You can instrument your own applications in .NET from the System.Management namespaces, creating your own custom events, performance counters, and so on. Its not a simple thing to do, but if you're serious about being an application that can be maintained and used in the long term, its worth the effort. Log files are not enough any more, you want to work and play in the DSI world.
Ultimately, doing DSI properly means spending less money and time on keeping servers operational. Its a worthy goal, but like all of Microsoft's major initiatives, its not going to happen overnight: its a combination of new software, new thinking and new work. A couple of years from now, we'll look back on the way we manage systems today the same way we look at email pre-Internet.
Besides having fun with MOM 2005, I showed off the new error handling abilities of SQL Server 2005, essentially doing an abbreviated version of my T-SQL Error Handling in SQL Server 2005 session from Tech Ed Malaysia.
After that, it was all about toys. Here's the goodies I showed off:
Unfortunately, we didn't get to talking about my home server rig, but I'm sure I'll get a chance in the next month or so to talk about the trials and tribulations of keeping a half dozen servers happy and healthy at home.