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Created: June 14, 2005.
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DMTF Releases Draft Server Management Command Line Protocol Specification (SMASH CLP).


A Version 1.0 Preliminary Standard defining the Server Management Command Line Protocol Specification (SM CLP) has been released by the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF). The document "specifies a common command line syntax and message protocol semantics for managing computer resources in Internet, enterprise, and service provider environments."

Statements of support for SMASH CLP have been provided by Avocent, Dell, Hitachi, HP, IBM, Intel, The Open Group, Peppercon, RLX Technologies, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), and Sun Microsystems.

The SMASH CLP specification addresses "the growing need to rely on multi-vendor, out-of-band hardware and software management solutions as core components of interoperable, heterogeneous enterprise-wide management solution. By the extending the DMTF Specifications to include a CIM-based command line protocol for managing out-of-band and out-of-service devices, the DMTF comes closer to realizing its vision of enabling end-to-end, multi-vendor interoperability in management systems."

The principal goal of the specification is to "define a light-weight, human-oriented command line protocol which is also suitable for scripting environments. This includes a direct mapping to a subset of the CIM Schema. The command line protocol will specify the syntax and semantics used to allow the manipulation of the Managed Elements within servers, as collections or individually."

The SMASH CLP specification builds upon the DMTF Common Information Model (CIM), which includes an implementation-neutral schema for describing overall management information in a network/enterprise environment. Use of the common data model "allows for the interchange of management information between management systems and applications, whether agent-to-manager or manager-to-manager" distributed system management communications. The CIM Schema supplies a set of classes with properties and associations that provide a well-understood conceptual framework within which it is possible to organize the available information about the managed environment. The CIM Schema is structured into three distinct layers: (1) The Core Schema,defining an information model for notions applicable to all areas of management; (2) Common Schemas, defining information models for notions common to particular management areas but independent of a particular technology or implementation [systems, devices, networks, applications, metrics, databases, physical environment, event definition, etc]; (3) Extension Schemas, representing organizational or vendor-specific extensions for particular operating systems, etc."

The CLP is defined as a character-based command/response message protocol (not as an interface), "which means that a text command message is transmitted from the Client over the transport protocol to the Manageability Access Point (MAP). The MAP receives the command and processes it. A text response message is then transmitted from the MAP back to the Client. The CLP is designed to work over existing character oriented transports. The specification contains mappings to Telnet and SSHv2, but any transport capable of carrying command/response message data of the type specified herein may be suitable for use as a transport."

The CLP is expected to be "built upon or provide an interface into a CIM Server implementation. The CLP is organized around management tasks mapped to operations on CIM instances. It does this by retrieving or changing properties and invoking methods established in instances of the CIM Schema. The mapping of CLP commands to CIM elements is documented in the CLP-to-CIM Mapping Specification to aid implementers and consumers of this specification."

The DMTF Command Line Protocol defines XML output data ('clpxml') as one of three structured data formats; CSV (Comma Separated Value) mode and modes for plain text output are also allowed. "XML was chosen as a supported output format due to its acceptance in the industry, establishment as a standard, and need for Clients to import data obtained through the CLP into other applications." Specification Appendix B supplies the Command Response XML Schema required for use in by implementations that support XML message data. OEM vendors may extend the Command Response schema by placing OEM extensions into a distinct namespace and defining a namespace prefix which follows the prescribed convention for OEM name extensions.

According to the announcement, the DMTF "is releasing the SMASH CLP specification to the public for comment and implementation experience before it is released in its final form later this year. The SMASH CLP is the first to be released of the DMTF's SMASH suite of specifications, which also includes SMASH Managed Element Addressing, SMASH CLP-to-CIM Mapping, SMASH CLP Discovery, SMASH Profiles, as well as a SMASH Architecture White Paper."

Bibliographic Information

Server Management Command Line Protocol Specification (SM CLP). Version 1.0. Copyright (c) 2005 Distributed Management Task Force, Inc. (DMTF). Status: Preliminary Standard. Publication Date: June 07, 2005. Reference: DSP0214. 241 pages.

Acknowledgments: The following persons were instrumental in the development of this specification: Bob Blair, Newisys; Greg Dake, IBM; Jon Hass, Dell; Jeff Hilland, HP; Steffen Hulegaard, OSA Technologies; Arvind Kumar, Intel; Jeff Lynch, IBM; Aaron Merkin, IBM (co-editor); Christina Shaw, HP; Enoch Suen, Dell; Michael Tehranian, Sun; Perry Vincent, Intel (co-editor).

SMASH Command Line Protocol (CLP) Overview

Extracts from specification Section 2, 'SM CLP Overview':

Use Cases: "The CLP is designed to apply to a number of server topologies. This includes, but is not limited to, stand alone servers, rack mounted servers, blades, partitioned servers, and Telco servers. It is also suitable to manage any necessary enterprise components, enclosures, chassis, racks and power supplies necessary to utilize servers.

The CLP provides the ability to enumerate and configure server hardware. This includes discovery of the current hardware configuration and properties, system settings and local IO devices. The CLP provides some amount of configuration for local disk drives, including local arrays. The intention of providing this support is to allow initial logical unit creation for installation and/or provisioning. It is not intended that the CLP Service be the primary interface for managing mass storage, since these standards and access points exist in the industry.

The CLP also includes the ability to select, control and initiate the transfer of images. This is provided through the CIM_SoftwareInstallationService as well as the ability to control the boot configuration of any supported server. In addition, support for heartbeat and operating system status information is included.

Server state control is included in the CLP. This includes power control, intervention capability (to halt, reset or shutdown a server) and mechanisms to initiate a dump of the operating system. Access to some system resources is included in the CLP as well. This includes access and manipulation of any accessible logs, the ability to view and set remote status displays, LEDs and alarms, the ability to configure alert destinations and the ability to initiate a session with a remote text-based console device.

The CLP also supports normal expected user session functions such as help, version information and the ability to exit or terminate a session...

Solution: The solution proposed in this document is a command line protocol (CLP), which is transmitted and received over a text message-based transport protocol. The CLP is defined as a character-based message protocol and not as an interface, in a fashion similar to SMTP [RFC 2821]...

The Command Line Protocol (CLP) defines the form and content of messages transmitted from and responses received by a Client within the context of a text-based session between that Client and the CLP Service for a Manageability Access Point (MAP). The CLP consists of a set of command verbs that manipulate command targets representing Managed Elements (ME) that are within the scope of access by a MAP. Each CLP interaction consists of a command line transmitted to the CLP Service and a subsequent response transmitted back to the Client. Each command transmitted generates one and only one response data transmission to the Client...

The CLP enables internationalization by providing a mechanism for the Client to indicate to the MAP the language desired by the Client. Provided the MAP supports the requested language, output data will be presented to the user with the appropriate translations. The [preliminary] version of the CLP does not support specific internationalization of user account names and passwords as they are not required to be in any specific language. In addition, the CLP input (commands and syntax) is not translated since CLP syntax is itself its own language.

The CLP allows for extensibility through four different mechanisms: verbs, targets, target properties, and option names, and option arguments. The conventions allow for implementers to extend the interface in a non-conflicting mechanism that allows for differentiation and experimentation without encroaching upon the standard CLP syntax and semantics.

From the DMTF Announcement

The Distributed Management Task Force, Inc. (DMTF), the industry organization leading the development of management standards and integration technology for enterprise and Internet environments, today announced the public release of its Systems Management Architecture for Server Hardware (SMASH) Command Line Protocol (CLP) specification, which enables simple and intuitive management of heterogeneous servers in the data center. The SMASH CLP specification addresses the end user requirement for a common command line syntax, allowing systems offered by different vendors to be managed in similar ways.

The SMASH CLP builds on the DMTF's Common Information Model (CIM) Schema, leveraging the richness of this widely implemented information model. Enabling remote as well as local management of server hardware in both Out-of-Service and Out-of-Band management environments, the SMASH CLP delivers server management capabilities independent of machine state, operating system state, server system topology or access method.

"End users have long desired the ability to have a common set of commands to manage server hardware from a variety of vendors," said Winston Bumpus, president, DMTF. "This need can now be met thanks to the widely-supported SMASH CLP. With important initiatives like grid and utility computing underway at many end user organizations, server management continues to be a top IT issue in the data center and throughout the enterprise. By enabling vendor-independent, platform neutral server management, customers will realize increased efficiencies, reduced costs and fewer training requirements as a result of the SMASH CLP."

"The members of the NAC — a consortium of IT user organizations representing combined revenues of over $800 billion — deal with the challenges of server management in the data center on a daily basis," said Fred Wettling, Chairman, Network Applications Consortium (NAC) and Technology Strategy Manager for Bechtel Corporation. "The SMASH CLP delivers key benefits for standards-based management interoperability in the data center, and SMASH CLP support will be a 'must have' server purchasing requirement for many large NAC enterprises."

The DMTF is releasing the SMASH CLP specification to the public for comment and implementation experience before it is released in its final form later this year. The SMASH CLP is the first to be released of the DMTF's SMASH suite of specifications, which also includes SMASH Managed Element Addressing, SMASH CLP-to-CIM Mapping, SMASH CLP Discovery, SMASH Profiles, as well as a SMASH Architecture White Paper.

The DMTF's SMASH CLP is available for download. For more information on SMASH and server management, visit the DMTF Web site at

Industry Support for the SMASH CLP


"Dell has been a consistent leader in driving industry standards to deliver increased value and simplified operations for our customers," said Pete Morowski, vice president of software for Dell Product Group. "The DMTF SMASH CLP standard is expected to become an integral technology in Dell's OpenManage systems management software, enabling our customers to more easily and cost-effectively manage systems in their data centers."

Hitachi Ltd.

"Hitachi is very pleased with the release of the DMTF's SMASH CLP, which provides comprehensive and simple server management in heterogeneous environments," said Takao Nakamura, executive general manager, Software Division, Hitachi Ltd. "This standard is coherent with and will form a part of Hitachi's 'Harmonious Computing' service platform concept. We will begin incorporating this standard into products which embody 'Harmonious Computing' immediately."


"HP enthusiastically supports the emerging SMASH CLP standard," said James Mouton, HP vice president of Industry Standard Servers. "We have already implemented a CLP preview on HP ProLiant 300 and 500 series servers and HP BladeSystem blade servers through Integrated Lights-Out, and we look forward to further implementation as the DMTF continues to release updates. The SMASH CLP uniform command set provides our customers operational cost reduction as a result of consistent server management and increased automation."


"As one of the founders and co-chairs of the DMTF Server Management Working Group, IBM is excited about supporting the advanced capabilities of the SMASH CLP in the IBM eServer xSeries and BladeCenter product lines," said Dr. Tom Bradicich, chief technology officer, xSeries and BladeCenter, IBM Systems and Technology Group. "SMASH is a great complement to IBM Director and our other industry-leading systems management tools, and will help our customers simplify server management in the heterogeneous data center."

Intel Corporation

"As part of our goal of leading in the development of improvements to the management of enterprise systems, Intel is committed to the creation and delivery of the SMASH CLP specification," says Steve Pawlowski, senior fellow, Intel Corporation. "SMASH provides a critical step in delivering consistent management to meet the diverse needs of today's data centers. Our ongoing leadership in the DMTF and planned product deployments for SMASH realize these commitments."

Sun Microsystems

"Sun has always remained focused on simplifying and reducing the cost of data center management for its customers — especially those working in heterogeneous computing environments where interoperability is key," said David Lawler, director, Product Definition & Strategy, Sun Microsystems, Inc. "Sun looks forward to supporting the DMTF's SMASH CLP industry standard in future product offerings."

More industry support for the DMTF's SMASH CLP — from companies and organizations including Avocent, The Open Group, Peppercon, RLX Technologies and the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) — can be found on the DMTF's Web site at

About Systems Management Architecture for Server Hardware (SMASH)

The Systems Management Architecture for Server Hardware (SMASH) is being developed by the DMTF Server Management Working Group (SMWG). "SMASH is a suite of specifications that deliver architectural semantics, industry standard protocols and profiles to unify the management of the data center. The SMASH Command Line Protocol (CLP) specification enables simple and intuitive management of heterogeneous servers in the data center independent of machine state, operating system state, server system topology or access method, facilitating local and remote management of server hardware in both Out-of-Service and Out-of-Band management environments. SMASH also includes the SMASH Managed Element Addressing Specification, SMASH CLP-to-CIM Mapping Specification, SMASH CLP Discovery Specification, SMASH Profiles, as well as a SMASH Architecture White Paper." [DMTF reference page]

SMASH status 2004-09-07: [said Winston Bumpus, president, DMTF] "Since the DMTF's Server Management Working Group (SMWG) was announced, the group has attracted 194 members from 44 companies, showing the industry's remarkable unity behind this effort to deliver vendor-independent, platform neutral server management. This groundswell of support has resulted in an expanded scope for the DMTF's server management standards, and the outcome is SMASH — a suite of specifications that will enable unprecedented simplicity for server management across diverse IT environments in the data center and beyond..." [see "DMTF Unveils Details Of Breakthrough Server Management Standards"]

Problem statement for the DMTF Server Management Working Group: "There is no uniform way of managing heterogeneous servers (i.e., from multiple vendors) independent of machine state, operating system state, server system topology and access mechanisms. There is a need to extend the CIM standard to cover various server system topologies such as blades and virtualized server systems. In addition, there is a need for a lightweight, industry standard human-oriented command line interface that can be mapped to CIM to implement the above. The goals of the Server Management Working Group are to define a platform independent, industry standard management architecture instantiated through wire level protocols built upon IP based technologies that: (1) Extend the CIM schema (presenting the work in parallel to the Sys/Dev WG) to represent new server system topologies; (2) Leverage the CIM/XML protocol and identify enhancements if necessary; (3) Define a CLI protocol (syntax & semantics); (4) Define profiles for different server system topologies in order to support base-level compliance; (5) Define an architectural model for understanding the semantic behavior of server management components; (6) Demonstrate interoperability..." [from the WG Charter]

About DMTF

With more than 3,000 active participants, the Distributed Management Task Force, Inc. (DMTF) is the industry organization leading the development of management standards and integration technology for enterprise and Internet environments. DMTF standards provide common management infrastructure components for instrumentation, control and communication in a platform-independent and technology neutral way. DMTF technologies include the Common Information Model (CIM), communication/control protocols like the Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) initiative, and core management services/utilities. The DMTF and Computerworld are co-owners of Enterprise Management World, the only IT management conference exclusively focused on distributed management technologies for the data center and communications infrastructure...

DMTF works closely with its Alliance Partners, including CompTIA, Consortium for Service Innovation, Federation Against Software Theft (FAST), Global Grid Forum (GGF), Interoperability Technology Association for Information Processing (INTAP), IT Service Management Forum (itSMF), Network Applications Consortium (NAC), Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, The Open Group, Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) and TeleManagement Forum (TMF). These top industry standards bodies are working with and participating in the development of DMTF's CIM — and its semantically rich definitions of management information — as a common approach to address the challenge of providing interoperable distributed management...

Common Information Model: CIM allows for the exchange of management information in a platform-independent and technology-neutral way. It is an object-oriented model, describing an organization's computing and networking environments (its hardware, software and services). All managed elements are positioned within this model, clarifying semantics, streamlining integration and reducing costs by enabling end-to-end multi-vendor interoperability in management systems.

Web-Based Enterprise Management: (WBEM) leverages existing Internet and Web services technologies for the interoperable exchange of management information. WBEM is a set of technologies, including an information model (CIM), an encoding specification (xmlCIM Encoding Specification), and a set of operations against the model with a transport mechanism (CIM Operations over HTTP).

Directory Enabled Networks: DEN is focused on communicating the benefits, usage and structure of a directory as a component in a complete management environment. Classes are mapped from CIM to a directory, and this information is integrated with other elements of the management infrastructure. DEN utilizes existing user and enterprisewide data already present in a company's directory, empowers end-to-end services, and supports distributed, network-wide service creation, provisioning and management operations.

Desktop Management Interface: The industry's first desktop management standard, DMI gave component vendors a consistent and non-proprietary way to make their products manageable. DMI generates a standard framework for managing and tracking components in a desktop PC, notebook or server. Due to the rapid advancement of newer DMTF technologies, DMTF has announced an 'End of Life' process for DMI, which took place March 31, 2005.

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