The Cover PagesThe OASIS Cover Pages: The Online Resource for Markup Language Technologies
Advanced Search
Site Map
CP RSS Channel
Contact Us
Sponsoring CP
About Our Sponsors

Cover Stories
Articles & Papers
Press Releases

XML Query

XML Applications
General Apps
Government Apps
Academic Apps

Technology and Society
Tech Topics
Related Standards
Created: October 08, 2004.
News: Cover StoriesPrevious News ItemNext News Item

AMD, Dell, Intel, Microsoft, and Sun Release Web Services for Management (WS-Management).

Update 2005-09-15: On September 15, 2005, Microsoft announced that the company, along with Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD), BMC Software Inc., Computer Associates, Dell Inc., Fujitsu-Siemens Computers, Intel Corporation, NEC Corp., Novell Inc., Sun Microsystems Inc., Symantec Corp. and WBEM Solutions Inc., had submitted the Web Services for Management (WS-Management) specification to the Distributed Management Task Force Inc. (DMTF) for further refinement and finalization as a Web services-based management standard. See details in the news story "WS-Management Specifications Submitted to DMTF for Standardization."


A new Web Services for Management (WS-Management) specification edited by Alan Geller (Microsoft) has been published. This initial joint publication of the specification names Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Dell, Intel and Sun Microsystems as co-developers.

A version of the specification was previously demonstrated at the WinHEC 2004 conference in Seattle under the title Web Services Management eXtensions (WMX). It is currently "a key part of the Microsoft Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI)."

The WS-Management specification describes a general SOAP-based protocol for managing systems such as PCs, servers, devices, Web services and other applications, and other manageable entities. According to Microsoft's announcement, WS-Management "reshapes the concept of distributed management. A key distributed application area is the management of systems and devices. Web services offer a strong foundation for building robust and interoperable systems management solutions. Designed to scale from small footprint controllers to enterprise class servers while maintaining security, WS-Management will help to create a common way of surfacing management-related operations and events within connected systems."

Key terms in the WS-Management systems management model include a System as a top-level managed entity composed of one or more Resource Instances; a Resource Instance, also called a Resource or an Instance, is a single manageable item such as a disk drive or a running process. A Resource Service is a Web service that provides access to a single category of manageable items, such as disk drives or running processes, that share the same operations and representation schema. An Agent is application that provides management services for a System by exposing a set of Resource Services. A Manager is a Web service that is used to manage one or more Systems by sending messages to and/or receiving messages from an Agent for that System."

WS-Management supports systems management functions by defining mechanisms for "interoperability between management applications and managed resources. It identifies a core set of Web service specifications and usage requirements to expose a common set of operations that are central to all systems management. These operations include abilities to: (1) DISCOVER the presence of management resources and navigate between them; (2) GET, PUT, CREATE, and DELETE individual management resources, such as settings and dynamic values; (3) ENUMERATE the contents of containers and collections, such as large tables and logs; (4) SUBSCRIBE to events emitted by managed resources; (5) EXECUTE specific management methods with strongly typed input and output parameters."

The WS-Management specification is designed to satisfy basic requirements of systems management in terms of web services. It is intended to "(1) constrain Web services protocols and formats so Web services can be implemented in management agents with a small footprint, in both hardware and software; (2) define minimum requirements for compliance without constraining richer implementations; (3) ensure composability with other Web services specifications, such as WS-ReliableMessaging and WS-AtomicTransactions; (4) minimize additional mechanism beyond the current Web service architecture."

Namespaces are declared in the WS-Management document for other WS-* specifications, including WS-MetadataExchange, WS-Addressing, WS-Eventing, WS-Enumeration, and WS-Transfer.

WS-Transfer and WS-Enumeration are of special importance in terms of resource access. "If a Resource provides a machine-readable representation of its state, and exposes read, update, create, and delete operations that operate on that state, it must do so by implementing WS-Transfer. Similarly, if a Resource exposes enumerable items such as tables, logs, or containers, the Resource must implement WS-Enumeration to support that enumeration."

The WS-Management specification co-developers Microsoft, Intel, AMD, Dell, and Sun "each agree upon request to grant you a license, provided you agree to be bound by such license, under royalty-free and otherwise reasonable, non-discriminatory terms and conditions."

Microsoft's announcement states that "the participating companies plan to present the WS-Management specification to the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) membership, recognizing the DMTF's history of leadership in developing practical management standards based on Web technologies." A series of open invitation feedback workshops will be held in the coming months to evaluate refinements based upon implementation and interoperablity trials. Ultimately the companies expect to submit the WS-Management specification "to a standards body for final standardization."

Bibliographic Information

Web Services for Management (WS-Management). Edited by Alan Geller (Microsoft). October 2004. 23 pages. Copyright (c) 2004 Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., Dell, Inc., Intel Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, and Sun Microsystems, Inc. Authors: Akhil Arora (Sun), Alan Geller (Microsoft), Jackson He (Intel), Chris Kaler (Microsoft), Ray McCollum (Microsoft), Milan Milenkovic (Intel), Paul Montgomery (AMD), Junaid Saiyed (Sun), and Enoch Suen (Dell). With XML Schema

Acknowledgements: "This specification has been developed as a result of joint work with many individuals and teams, including: Don Box (Microsoft), Josh Cohen (Microsoft), David Filani (Intel), Omri Gazitt (Microsoft), Frank Gorishek (AMD), Arvind Kumar (Intel), Brad Lovering (Microsoft), Sasha Nosov (Microsoft), Jeffrey Schlimmer (Microsoft), Tom Slaight (Intel), Marvin Theimer (Microsoft), Dave Tobias (AMD), John Tollefsrud (Sun), Anders Vinberg (Microsoft), and Doug Walter (Microsoft)."

The WS-Management and WS-Management Catalog specifications were updated in February 2005 and June 2005.

The Inside Story: Excerpts from the Microsoft PressPass Interview

Microsoft PressPass conducted an interview with two leading Microsoft authorities "to learn more about WS-Management, DSI (Dynamic Systems Initiative), and Microsofts Web services strategy": David Hamilton (Director, Windows and Enterprise Management Division at Microsoft), and Dave Mendlen (Microsoft's Director of Web Services).

Herewith five excerpts from the published Q&A; please see the complete text for additional discussion:

  • What exactly is WS-Management? "WS-Management defines a way to use the existing set of core Web services specifications, what we call WS-* [pronounced 'WS-Star'], the industry-supported Web services architecture, to provide a consistent method for remote management of devices, for traditional distributed systems and new service-oriented architecture-based applications.

    WS-Management provides a universal language that all types of devices can use to share data about themselves so they can be maintained more easily. WS-Management also plays an important role in the Microsoft Dynamic Systems Initiative, or DSI. Through DSI, Microsoft strives to reduce the complexity of — and drive down the costs associated with — IT management. We are doing this by building more manageability into applications and systems early on in the product lifecycle so that management is an inherent part of an application and the operating system. That makes it much easier to manage systems and applications, particularly in heterogeneous environments and across different multiple, co-operating enterprises..." [David Hamilton]

  • How does WS-Management work? "WS-Management defines an access protocol, a way for devices of all types to exchange data, that will work with both hardware and software. For instance, I can query a piece of firmware created by Intel and get critical management information about that particular component. Is it overheating? Is it working efficiently? Similarly, I can use that same access protocol to get management data about a device driver or service an application. Although the hardware may be instrumented in Intel's Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) and the software using Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), a management system would only be able to access and act on each in a consistent manner by hosting a single set of common Web service protocols..." [David Hamilton]

  • How does WS-Management fit into Microsoft's Web services strategy? "WS-Management is built on the core parts of WS-*. It doesn't add many new protocols or message formats. Rather, it takes advantage of existing architecture to perform management activities. One of the central design tenets we were working with was to offer new approaches only when absolutely necessary. So WS-Management is a straightforward use of existing protocols in the Web services architecture. Since management is a pervasive type of function, something that virtually every device needs, Web services are a really good way to create a protocol that can span the breadth of networked devices..." [Dave Mendlen]

  • What are the differences between WS-Management and the Web Services Distributed Management (WSDM) specification? "Fundamentally, the WSDM model for managing distributed services suggests a solution that's geared for datacenter environments that can afford to maintain a large system and all that goes with it: an expensive protocol, network bandwidth, experienced IT staff, and high-end management systems. We're taking a different approach. With WS-Management, we aim to make management using Web Services something useful to everyone, however disconnected or challenging their IT environments might be, however small or large the devices on their network are..." [David Hamilton]

  • How can the IT community get involved with the development of this specification? "We'll be presenting this specification to the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) later in October [2004]. We'll have people there to answer questions and review the new specification in detail. After that, we'll hold a series of open invitation feedback workshops. We'll post information about when those will be held on the Microsoft Web Services Developer Center on MSDN. Ultimately, we expect to submit this to a standards body for final standardization once we make sure we've made it as high-quality as we can possibly make it and have demonstrated interoperability..." [Dave Mendlen]

From the Microsoft Announcement

AMD, Dell, Intel Corporation, Microsoft Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. today announced the publication of Web Services Management (WS-Management), a Web services specification that addresses the cost and complexity of IT management by providing a common way for systems to access and exchange management information across their entire IT systems.

By using Web services to manage IT systems, deployments that support WS-Management will enable IT managers to remotely access devices on their networks, regardless of whether the systems are just out of the box, powered down or otherwise unavailable. Further, WS-Management supports a full spectrum of usage scenarios. These include the management of everything from silicon components and handheld devices to PCs, servers and large-scale datacenters. WS-Management provides a valuable foundation for the next generation of management applications because of the breadth of functionality it supports combined with its ability to take advantage of the rich security, reliability and transactional features of WS-*, the Web services architecture.

"Web services are the preferred architecture for building the next generation of application protocols," said David Mendlen, director of Web services at Microsoft. "With this specification, management is now a core part of the Web services world and no longer an afterthought or just something that takes place in the datacenter. This is an important step for IT managers who have been looking for management systems to fully take advantage of the inherent interoperability that Web services provide."

"Providing the industry and our customers with a solid, open-standards-based management model demonstrates Intel's commitment to Web services and to system management," said Colin Evans, director of the System Software Lab at Intel. "Reducing IT system complexity through streamlined system management will help our customers run their businesses more efficiently, and we are committed to provide them with the specifications and technology to do that."

Microsoft plans to support WS-Management in the next release of Microsoft Windows Server and the next release of Microsoft Operations Manager. Intel plans to support WS-Management in its platform building blocks and will announce specific plans at a future date.

With the goal of accelerating development and acceptance of a standard for Web Services-based systems management, the participating companies plan to present the specification to the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) membership, recognizing the DMTF's history of leadership in developing practical management standards based on Web technologies..." [from the 2004-10-08 Microsoft press release; see additional statements in the announcement about "Broad Industry Support" for WS-Management, provided by Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Computer Associates (CA), Dell Inc., Intel Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, and Sun Microsystems]

Background: Web Services for Management eXtension (WMX)

According to the 2004-10-08 announcement, "WS-Management, which was originally known as WMX, was first demonstrated at the WinHEC 2004 conference in Seattle."

Abstract for the WMX for Hardware Management Overview document (WinHEC 2004 Version, June 11, 2004): "This paper provides an overview of a Microsoft proposed solution for server management, which is suitable for the Microsoft Windows family of operating systems as well as others by the industry at large. This proposed solution is codenamed Web services for Management eXtension (WMX). WMX provides a way to manage the ever-increasing capabilities of hardware products in a much more thorough and powerful way than has been possible up to now. How WMX will address the critical needs of customers who want to reduce the cost of managing a heterogeneous enterprise, both with regard to hardware and software components, is discussed. This paper helps system manufacturers and Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) firmware engineers understand how WMX is conceived to be a very practical and powerful next-generation management protocol...

"The key element of the Microsoft proposed solution is a standard management profile, codenamed WMX. It is not a new protocol in itself, but rather a profile, or collection of operations that are borrowed from existing, proven definitions and composable Web services specifications that are part of the multi-vendor Web Services initiative. In this case, a profile is a definition which is in turn layered over other existing definitions. For example, the addressing aspects of WMX are drawn from WS-Addressing and the event subscription mechanism from WS-Eventing... WMX consists of a collection of existing and upcoming standardized Web services specifications which act together to define operations that are common to all systems management scenarios. WMX defines the following: (1) The available operations and their SOAP message formats, drawn from the composable Web Services base specifications; (2) The standardized bindings to various transports, such as HTTPS and UDP; (3) The standards used for resource and metadata discovery; (4) A standardized operations log used to query recent operations; (5) The minimum security standards that can be implemented..." See the document overview and reference page "Server Platform Design — Overview."

From "Server Management Systems," by David Greenfield, 2004-10:

"... Two efforts are under way to augment and, to some extent, replace Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI). Last month, the DMTF released a new group of standards, dubbed Systems Management Architecture for Server Hardware (SMASH). SMASH is a collection of efforts aimed at enabling network managers to gather hardware and low-level software information up to the OS. SMASH augments the Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) standard, released by the DMTF in 1998. WBEM introduced the Common Information Model (CIM), a platform- and technology-independent standard used for describing compute and networking environments and which underlies nearly all of the DMTF's work. More specifically, SMASH includes a Command Line Protocol (CLP) for addressing and discovering CIM objects, as well as CIM models and profiles...

The WBEM standard is beginning to show its age, however. It doesn't rely on modern conventions such as Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) or the standard XML schema. It's also an in-band solution, so it can't provide out-of-band access in the event of a device failure. What's more, WBEM is aimed at developers. Network managers would need to use a WBEM-compliant application to make changes to a device. There's no command line interface.

While SMASH will address some of these problems, the issue of Web services transport will be dealt with by the Web Services Distributed Management (WSDM, pronounced 'wisdom') Technical Committee within the OASIS standards body, says Bumpus, who also co-chairs that committee's efforts. According to Bumpus, WSDM is expected to release version 1.0 of that specification this quarter.

At the same time, Microsoft has pushed its own proposed management framework, code-named Web services for Management Extension (WMX). The framework describes a generic SOAP-based management protocol that reuses Microsoft's existing Web Service (WS) specifications and security models to support server management operations.

A Microsoft spokesperson was careful to position WMX as complementary to SMASH, noting that after integrating feedback about WMX from DMTF members, Microsoft would propose WMX as a standard to the DMTF at the end of the year. Yet according to a Microsoft white paper, WMX would appear to replace IPMI and SMASH. While the white paper doesn't discuss WSDM, it's hard to imagine why both would be implemented, given the fact that they serve similar, if not identical, functions... While the fight for a server management standard continues, IT will likely be able to avoid the actual battles with a bit of investment. Last month, OSA introduced a firmware solution that maps between IPMI and WSDM..." [from "Server Management Systems: New Standards, Simpler Server Management, and Another Microsoft Battle — Need We Say More?", by CMP Executive Editor David Greenfield, in InformationWeek Web Services Pipeline, courtesy of Network Magazine, 2004-10-01.]

Additional References for WMX are provided below.

Gartner's Take on WS-Management

Donna Scott, David Mitchell Smith, and Cameron Haigh of Gartner Research published a 'FirstTake' News Analysis technical research note under the title "WS-Management's Success Depends on Wide, Deep Vendor Support." ID Number: G00124376. October 11, 2004. See the HTML and PDF formats. Excerpt:

Summary: "Microsoft is pushing a new version of its Web Services for Management Extension (WMX) standard. But more work and industry support will be needed before WS-Management can help you manage Web services."

Event: "On 8 October 2004, AMD, Dell, Intel, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems announced the publication of WS-Management (based on Microsoft's earlier WMX), a Web services standard that defines a common approach to exchanging management information across hardware, software and applications. The vendors plan to submit WS-Management to a standards body in 2005, and will announce specific plans to incorporate the standard into their products when the specification is further developed."

Analysis: "Microsoft and its partners are introducing yet another standard definition for management that will overlap with Hewlett-Packard's (HP's) and IBM's work with the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) — a specification known as Web Services Distributed Management, or WSDM). Microsoft hopes to get element suppliers of servers, storage, networks and application software to use WS-Management to enable access to embedded management information via a standard protocol. Earlier protocols, such as Simple Network Management Protocol and Web-Based Enterprise Management, were limited in their ability to get element providers to focus on 'control' — changing the element's configuration or capacity — which is critical to enabling real-time infrastructure. WS-Management has other advantages: It is simpler than WSDM and is designed to scale down to all types of devices.

If Microsoft can influence hardware and software suppliers to broadly embed this management functionality into their products broadly, its management products will more dynamically manage the environment and move the environment further toward real-time infrastructure — while appearing to be somewhat heterogeneous. Another advantage for Microsoft is that, like other management standards efforts that preceded it, this standard would not require that the company or its partners invest in developing and maintaining 'adapters.' One big challenge is that WS-Management needs to gain support from a premier multivendor management vendor, such as Computer Associates International, HP or IBM, all which currently back WSDM."

End-User Recommendations: "Expect little useful standardization focused on managing Web services. Gartner believes the WS-Management initiative will take until at least late 2006 to sort out. Both this effort and WSDM are still focused on management using Web services, which does not address the actual management of Web services. However, given that standards could enable a more dynamic and lower-cost management environment, IT organizations should encourage vendor participation and leadership in this area..." [see also the references for Recommended Reading and Related Research in the complete text]

Principal References

Hosted By
OASIS - Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards

Sponsored By

IBM Corporation
ISIS Papyrus
Microsoft Corporation
Oracle Corporation


XML Daily Newslink
Receive daily news updates from Managing Editor, Robin Cover.

 Newsletter Subscription
 Newsletter Archives
Bottom Globe Image

Document URI:  —  Legal stuff
Robin Cover, Editor: