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(I asked this question over on Stack Overflow and they sent me here. Sorry for the very basic question, but I have purely coding experience - no server management stuff at all - and this is overwhelming me, to say the least...)

I just cannot wrap my head around the differences among these products. I've never used any of them - I'm working on a piece of technical writing which references all three.

The way I currently understand it is that Windows/MS System Center and HP Operations Manager are different companies' responses to the same need: a system management, collection of monitors and logs, etc. Is this a correct understanding?

As for SCOM, some sources seem to make it out to be another name for Windows System Center and others seem to say it's a UI and notification-type addon?!

Thank you very much for any help at all. All of these names are so similar, and the more I read the more confused I get...

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

System Center is a suite of different monitoring, configuration management, and automation tools Microsoft sells for the Windows operating system. Collectively they achieve Systems Management.

SCOM, System Center Operations Manager, is the monitoring component of that suite. SCCM, System Center Configuration Manager, handles configuration management. HP Operations Manager does essentially the same tasks as SCOM. The main benefits if you're looking at either are their integration with other products from the same company. HPOM integrates with HPIC. HPIC can also integrate with SCCM/SCOM.

In any case if you have no such management software running now, it will be a monsterous undertaking to learn, plan, deploy, and operate such systems. At even smaller size companies they can substantially improve IT responsiveness and proactive maintenance. However, they are the tools of the "Proactive IT" department, fixing things before they break. "Reactive IT" will have little use for alarms going off telling them there's a new fire to fight before the last fire is even put out.

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So many acronyms! I really appreciate your answer - that's exactly what I needed to get it. Regarding your third paragraph - I'm not researching for the purpose of deploying anything. I'm a programmer, but have been tasked with writing a long explanation of our cloud monitoring service. –  okapishomapi Aug 15 '12 at 14:11
    
"Because no endeavour is respectable these days without a TLA" - Edsger W. Dijkstra –  Chris S Aug 15 '12 at 14:37
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