Microsoft bulks up in management software

The software giant will add a service desk module and a scripting console to Exchange Server 2007.

Microsoft on Tuesday said it will fill out its management software line with a product to help IT pros troubleshoot problems and release a revamped Exchange management console next year.

A product under development, code-named Service Desk, will be used as a foundation for a set of management-related tasks, such as keeping track of a company's hardware and software or updating software configurations from a central point.

Service Desk will be available at the end of 2007, company executives said at a management software conference.

Service Desk will include a "workflow engine" for automating tasks, such as handling a help desk ticket, and will be anchored by a database for storing configuration information on networked devices and software, the company said.

Microsoft executives also discussed delivery plans for PowerShell, formerly code-named Monad, which is software for writing administration scripts. It will be available for free as a Web download in the second half of the year.

PowerShell will be the basis of Exchange Management Console, a graphical administration application that will be included in the next major version of Exchange, which will be called Exchange Server 2007.

In addition, Microsoft said forthcoming editions of its current management products will use the System Center brand name. Version three of Microsoft Operations Manager will be called System Center Operations Manager 2007, and version four of Systems Management Server will be called System Center Configuration Manager 2007.