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Created: December 16, 2003.
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New DMTF Server Management Working Group to Evolve CIM Specification.

An announcement from the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) describes the formation of a new DMTF Server Management Working Group formed by Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, AMD, Microsoft, Oracle, OSA Technologies, Sun Microsystems, and several other technology companies. The goal of the Server Management Working Group is to "define a platform independent, industry standard management architecture instantiated through wire level protocols built upon IP based technologies. The focus of the WG is management of server system hardware; this includes interactions with the operating system that are necessary to assist in hardware management."

The architectural model will "extend the Common Information Model (CIM) schema to represent new server system topologies; it will define the syntax and semantics of a Command Line Interface (CLI) protocol, leveraging the CIM/XML protocol and identifying enhancements as necessary. The group will define profiles for different server system topologies in order to support base-level compliance, and will document an architectural model for understanding the semantic behavior of server management components."

Initial deliverables identified for July 2004 include a lightweight command line interface specification, lightweight CIMOM and supported CIM operations specification, and standard server system topology profiles. Phase 2 deliverables for December 2004 include a compliance specification, test cases for interoperability, and interoperability testing data. Liaison relationships are expected to be formed with relevant OASIS TCs, the Storage Management Initiative (SNIA), W3C Working Groups, and the Service Availability Forum.

Server Management Working Group Scope

"Direct management of a running operating system and its associated applications is out of scope. The WG scope includes the following:

  • Server profiles, spanning the spectrum of (a) Stand alone, blades, racks, partitions; (b) Enterprise and Telco; (c) Low cost to mission critical
  • Enumeration of hardware and hardware related software
  • OS present/not present, architected transitions independent of OS
  • Discovery, proxy, aggregation, redirection
  • Select, control and transfer executable (boot) images
  • Power control, system control, configuration and monitoring
  • OS recovery assistance
  • Boot process visibility
  • Basic alerts/events
  • Access to logs -- characterize, define content, retrieve and write to logs
  • View and set status indicators: LED, text LCD, alarms etc.

These management functions must be available through the Command Line Interface and CIM/XML interface with appropriate security required for all functions..." [from the Charter]

From the Announcement

The Distributed Management Task Force, Inc. (DMTF) today announced that Dell, HP, IBM, and Intel Corporation have led the formation of the new DMTF Server Management Working Group, reflecting the growing demand of customers for standard server hardware management interfaces. The group includes other key technology companies, such as AMD, Microsoft, Oracle, OSA Technologies and Sun Microsystems, Inc., and will build and evolve the DMTF's Common Information Model (CIM) specification to deliver a platform-independent, industry standard server hardware management architecture across diverse IT environments in the data center. The group will hold its first face-to-face meetings this week on December 17-18, 2003 and has committed to delivering its first specifications by July 1, 2004.

The DMTF Server Management Working Group will develop a common Command Line Interface (CLI) to enable local and remote management of server hardware in both operating system (OS)-present and OS-absent environments. The group will also further evolve CIM to cover the latest server system topologies, such as blades and virtualized server systems. Realized through protocols, the specifications will deliver a lightweight, human-oriented CLI that can be mapped to CIM and driven by scripts.

"We compete in a market where both the economy and global competitors require us to be flexible and operate at a low cost," said Jeffrey M. Birnbaum, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley Institutional Securities IT. "The collaboration between the most influential industry vendors and the DMTF to extend CIM for a common management interface will be a tremendous benefit."

"As IT organizations face increasing complexity and costs associated with operating multiple server platforms across diverse departments, sites and geographies, continued work in the area of server management is critical," said Winston Bumpus, president of DMTF. "The DMTF is the logical place for this critical work to take place, and we look forward to the progress that will emerge in the near future from this new working group."

"Dell is committed to helping customers simplify the management of disparate systems and architectures in the data center by reducing the number of tools and processes needed to manage standards-based servers," said Neil Hand, director of worldwide product marketing, Dell. "CIM offers a widely used starting point, which will allow us to streamline IT operations for today's server environments."

"HP has a solid history of innovation that enables customers to adapt to rapidly changing business needs," said James Mouton, vice president, platforms, HP Industry Standard Servers. "Our efforts with the DMTF will deliver customer value through a standardized management interface, resulting in increased control of IT environments and reduced operating costs."

"Working directly with our customers to develop management standards across multiple server platforms is key to the success of this initiative," said Dr. Tom Bradicich, CTO, IBM eServer xSeries Servers. "The ultimate goal of the DMTF Server Management Working Group is to ease administrative burdens in today's data centers."

"Customers for enterprise computing platforms such as Intel Itanium 2 and Intel Xeon processor-based servers need hardware vendors to make managing IT infrastructures easier and more cost-effective," said Abhi Talwalkar, vice president, Enterprise Platforms Group, and general manager, Platform Products Group, Intel. "As a leader in the formation of this working group within the DMTF, Intel is committed to an extended CIM standard that will allow enterprises to simplify data center operations significantly. Working with IBM, Dell, HP and other members of the DMTF ensures the kind of progress in hardware interoperability that end-users need."

"AMD supports this initiative and recognizes the value of open management standards to help our customers reduce infrastructure IT costs," said Marty Seyer, vice president and general manager of AMD's Microprocessor Business Unit. "With these standards as a common management interface, AMD is helping our customers further simplify enterprise computing."

"Customers are demanding simplified and standard ways of managing server hardware resources," said Jim Hebert, General Manager - Windows Server Division, Microsoft Corp. "Microsoft is pleased to support the efforts of the Server Management Working Group at the DMTF; we look forward to working closely with server hardware vendors to continue to drive down the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) associated with deploying and managing servers."

"The efforts of the DMTF Server Management Working Group to standardize the management of hardware resources will add customer value and reduce the total cost of ownership," said Jay Rossiter, VP System Management Products, Oracle. "This is consistent with Oracle's mission to simplify and automate management tasks across sets of servers, allowing customers to minimize incremental management costs as the number of managed servers increases."

"OSA Technologies is excited to join the DMTF Server Management Working Group," said Mark Lee, CEO and president of OSA. "The Working Group's charter will help provide unprecedented systems management based on open standards that will be incorporated into OSA's product line. With a consistent CLI, vendors and users alike will find this critical to reducing their future TCO."

"Sun sees open management standards as a means to help our customers reduce complexity in the data center as they scale-out their network infrastructure," said Subodh Bapat, vice president and chief technologist, Volume Systems Products, Sun Microsystems, Inc. "We are pleased to join other industry leaders in defining server management interfaces that can reduce customer TCO and contribute to Sun's larger N1 vision of the Data Center as a single system."

About the Common Information Model (CIM)

CIM is a common data model of an implementation-neutral schema for describing overall management information in a network/enterprise environment. CIM is comprised of a Specification and a Schema. The Specification defines the details for integration with other management models, while the Schema provides the actual model descriptions. The conceptual information model for describing management is not bound to a particular implementation. This allows for the interchange of management information between management systems and applications. This can be either "agent to manager" and "manager to manager" communications that provides for Distributed System Management. There are two parts to CIM: The CIM Specification and the CIM Schema. The CIM Specification describes the language, naming, Meta Schema and mapping techniques to other management models such as SNMP MIBs, and DMTF MIFs etc. The Meta Schema is a formal definition of the model. It defines the terms used to express the model and their usage and semantics. The elements of the Meta Schema are Classes, Properties, and Methods. The Meta Schema also supports Indications and Associations as types of Classes and References as types of Properties..." [from the FAQ]

About the Distributed Management Task Force

"Distributed Management Task Force, Inc. (DMTF) is the industry organization leading the development, adoption and interoperability of management standards and initiatives for desktop, enterprise and Internet environments. DMTF is chartered to adopt, create and maintain the specifications and technologies that provide management tools with the ability to discover, deploy and control management data in a standard way. Working with key technology vendors and affiliated standards groups, DMTF is enabling a more integrated, cost-effective and less crisis-driven approach to management."

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