The term became unfashionable at least five years ago when - from a marketing perspective - no one wanted to call themselves a "manager of managers." The terms "platforms" and "frameworks" took over and then suffered their own twists of fate at the hands of fashion and, frankly, reality. I am in no way suggesting that its time to bring back MOM as banner for tradeshows, headlines and lead sentences in press releases. But I do get the feeling that we are about to enter the period in management software when the advantages of a MOM can begin to be meaningfully achieved.
Why is this? First of all, MOM hasnt gone away. Tivolis Enterprise Console and its Business Systems Manager may not be easy to implement, but they do provide a MOM, in concept. Aprismas Spectrum and RiverSofts OpenRiver reflect new architectural approaches (even if Spectrum is in fact more than a decade old itself) to integrating management applications into a core intelligent base. And single prroducts are evolving towards suites, often with the potential for sharing common databases. Witness Micromuse in its current evolution. Even in the performance management market (or what used to be the performance management market and is now becoming something broader), there is consolidation that has a MOM-like feel. Witness Concords capabilities for real-time management and NetScouts step-by-step integration of NextPoint. Frameworks, such as OpenView from Hewlett-Packard and TND from Computer Associates, are also reengineering themselves to enable MOM-like capabilities.
What do these have in common that the past "manager of managers" vision didnt? Rather than being a strict play for centralization, modern MOMs allow distributed management deployments - in case you want to manage your routers from Chicago and your applications from Gainesville - but still profit from knowledge of the interdependencies that can affect the performance of both. More importantly, modern MOMs will offer real integration on the one hand, and a less grandiose vision on the other. The two suggest a meeting place somewhere in the next few years where users and vendors might meet with some degree of satisfied expectation.