Microsoft Management Console (MMC) is an extensible user interface container for systems management applications. MMC combines the administrative tasks of IIS and associated components into a single integrated utility, enabling administrators to manage their Web servers with ease.

The primary management interface for Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) is the Microsoft Management Console (MMC).

A cross application and shared management tool, the MMC provides a framework for administering multiple network management programs. In addition to being included as a component for the Microsoft Windows NT Option Pack, the MMC will be incorporated into Windows NT.
The MMC console by itself does not provide any functionality, but it does provide a common environment for snap-ins. Snap-ins provide the actual management environment for each associated product. For IIS, the implemented snap-in is Internet Service Manager. When you start Internet Service Manager, the MMC starts and loads the Internet Service Manager snap-in.

The MMC enables total console customization. Administrators can create management consoles that include only the exact administrative tools they need. Customization helps make administration more task-oriented. A customized tool set will related more closely to the tasks an administrator needs to perform as apposed to a large array of objects and features, only a few of which are used.

Integration and Commonality

MMC provides common framework in which snap-ins can run, making it possible for administrators to manage various network products by using a single integrated interface. Because all snap-ins run in the same framework and must conform to the same specifications, the look and feel of each will be similar. This makes learning to use each tool easier for administrators.

Flexibility in Choosing Tools and Products

MMC does not restrict users to any specific protocols, enabling them to choose the best product of each type. Users can manage tools seamlessly, without compatibility problems.

An MMC console window has two panes. The left pane (the scope pane) shows a tree view of the namespace, which is the hierarchy of all the item that can currently be managed by MMC. Each item (called a node) is one of a variety of objects, tasks or containers that serve as management tools.

You administer the network by taking action on the contents of the result pane (the right pane) or by using commands in toolbars or command menus.

Command menus and bands on the Rebar (the lowest bar above the scope and result panes) adjust automatically to correspond to the node selected.

You can create multiple windows within the MMC. Each window can have a different view of the current namespace. The console always has one current master namespace, each child window may just provide a different view of that master namespace. Multiple windows enable you to view and switch to multiple parts of the console interface at once.

In future release of all Microsoft BackOffice products, including Windows NT, administrative tools will be converted to MMC snap-ins. MMC specifications are also available to third party companies and many third party software vendors will ship products managed by snap-ins. Example of these tools include the Microsoft Active X, Real Audio controls, Wrag Image Edit controls and Microsoft Certificate mapper. Administrators can create or purchase additional tools to be used with specific snap-ins.