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Created: March 23, 2007.
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DMTF Desktop and Mobile Architecture for System Hardware (DASH) Initiative.


On March 22, 2007, the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) announced a new DASH Initiative (Desktop and mobile Architecture for System Hardware). DASH Initiative Work Groups will produce a suite of specifications taking full advantage of the DMTF's Web Services for Management (WS-Management) specification to deliver standards-based Web services management for desktop and mobile client systems. The new initiative is designed to provide the next generation of standards for secure out-of-band and remote management of desktop and mobile systems. DASH becomes one of several DMTF Management Initiatives, providing a comprehensive framework for syntax and semantics necessary to manage computer systems, independent of machine state, operating platform, or vendor.

Since the DMTF's Desktop and Mobile Working Group (DMWG) was announced, the group has attracted more than 180 members from over different companies, demonstrating a strong commitment by vendors and users across the industry to collaborate on this effort. Statements of support for the new DASH Initiative have been provided by AMD, Avocent, Broadcom, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Novell, NVIDIA, Symantec, and WBEM Solutions.

DMTF's Web Services for Management (WS-Management) specification (DSP0226) describes a general SOAP-based protocol for managing systems such as PCs, servers, devices, Web services and other applications, and other manageable entities. Its goal is to: (1) Constrain Web services protocols and formats so that Web services can be implemented with a small footprint in both hardware and software management services' (2) Define minimum requirements for compliance without constraining richer implementations; (3) Ensure composability with other Web services specifications; (4) Minimize additional mechanisms beyond the current Web service architecture.

The common set of operations defined by WS-Management as central to all systems management supports facilities to [i] Get, put (update), create, and delete individual resource instances, such as settings and dynamic values; [ii] Enumerate the contents of containers and collections, such as large tables and logs; [iii] Subscribe to events emitted by managed resources; [iv] Execute specific management methods with strongly typed input and output parameters.

For addressing, WS-Management uses WS-Addressing endpoint references (also known as EPRs) as the addressing model for individual resource instances. WS-Management also defines a default endpoint reference format for use in addressing resources. In cases where this default addressing model is not appropriate, such as systems with well-established EPR formats or with opaque EPRs retrieved from a discovery service, services may use those service-specific addressing models, as long as they are based on WS-Addressing.

According to the published DASH Technical Note as detailed in the White Paper, "The WS-Management protocol stack for DASH is based on the Web Services. The network and physical layers are the two bottommost layers in the stack. The transport layers that carry SOAP messages are next in the stack. These layers include TCP, which provides reliable, stream-oriented data transport; TLS, which provides various security attributes, and HTTP 1.1, which provides user authentication and request-response semantics. TCP and HTTP 1.1 are required by DASH. TLS support is conditional on support for security profiles that require it. At the next layer, SOAP/XML messaging is handled. The security profiles specified in the DASH Implementation Requirements Specification define the security mechanisms required. Above the SOAP/XML layer is the data transfer layer, which is based on multiple Web Services specifications. These are WS-transfer, WS-Enumeration, and WS-Eventing for transferring the management information. The top three layers represent the WS-Management applications. The DASH profiles are mapped over the WS-Management protocol stack using the WS-Management CIM Binding. Protocol stack for DASH:

Protocol Stack for DASH

A key benefit of the DASH Initiative is that it delivers more secure desktop and mobile management. DASH embraces industry standard network and transport layer encryption, authentication, and authorization mechanisms, and establishes standard profiles for roles, authorization, and account management. The authorization and access control is based on the roles assigned, and privileges associated with, the user accounts. Operational roles include 'Read only User,' which allows a user to only perform query and read operations on the managed elements; 'Operator,' which permits a user to perform read, write, and execute operations on the managed elements; and 'Administrator,' which adds to the operator role capabilities to perform user account management."

DASH Architecture

Excerpts from Systems Management Architecture for Mobile and Desktop Hardware White Paper. Version 1.0.0a/Version 1.0.01i. Status: Informational. Publication Date: February 26, 2007. Reference: DSP2014.

The Desktop and mobile Architecture for System Hardware (DASH) is a DMTF Management Initiative that represents a suite of specifications which standardize the manageability interfaces for mobile and desktop hardware. The DASH suite of specifications defines the interfaces for management in the form of protocols and profiles for representing mobile and desktop hardware. This document is an architectural white paper and describes the concepts used in managing mobile and desktop platforms which adhere to the DASH Implementation Requirements.

The document lays forth the basic principles required for understanding and implementing the DMTF Web Services for Management (WS-Management) interface as applied to this environment. The framework is composed of technologies defined in multiple standard specifications, including the WS-Man Specification, the DASH Implementation Requirements Specification, and a variety of profiles (Section 7) which are applicable to this environment. The focus of this architecture is to enable the management of desktop and mobile computing re-sources in a standard manner across any Manageability Access Point implementation, independent of operating system state.

DASH contains the models, mechanisms, and semantics necessary to manage mobile and desktop computers in use today, independent of service state. This includes the architectural, service and operations models, and covers boot and firmware update as well as service discovery. The profiles contain the required classes, instances, properties and methods necessary to manage systems. The transport and management protocols allow implementers to determine the communication requirements for compliant systems. Discovery and security requirements described help to understand their aspects in relation to the profiles and protocols. And the use cases should help implementers understand the communications that take place in certain circumstances. All of these combine in DASH to deliver the syntax and semantics necessary to manage desktop and mobile computer systems.

Architecture Overview: Desktop and mobile systems management in today's enterprise environments is comprised of a disparate set of tools and applications which administrators can use to manage the multitude of networked desktop and mobile computers. In many cases, these tools are specialized and adapted to each individual environment, installation and product in the environment. Currently, the CIM Schema provides a feature-rich systems management environment. In its cur-rent form, it also places a burden on those vendors attempting to implement the CIM Schema and CIM-XML Protocol to support systems hardware management. This has resulted in lack of inter-operability and acceptance of solutions in the desktop and mobile systems hardware management solution space, particularly in the out-of-band and out-of service cases. In addition, the resulting Out-of-Band and Out-of-Service management solutions are different from the operating system's representation and management of the system. The Desktop and mobile Architecture for System Hardware (DASH) Management Initiative supports a suite of specifications which include architectural semantics, industry standard proto-cols and a set of profiles to standardize the management of desktop and mobile systems independent of machine state, operating platform or vendor. By creating industry standard protocols, interoperability is facilitated over the network and the syntax and semantics of those protocols are facilitated to be interoperable by products which adhere to those standards. Because it is based on the CIM Schema, the DASH Management Initiative leverages the richness of CIM. By creating industry standard profiles, the richness of the CIM Schema can be applied in a consistent manner by all vendors.

Extra emphasis has been placed in the development of DASH to enable lightweight implementations which are architecturally consistent. This has been done to enable a full spectrum of implementations without sacrificing the richness of the CIM heritage. This includes software-only solutions and small footprint firmware solutions. Emphasis has been placed on ensuring that these implementations will be interoperable, independent of implementation, CPU architecture, chipset solutions, vendor or operating environment.

Management Protocol: DASH supports the Web Services for Management Protocol, as defined in the WS-Management Specification, as the management protocol for transporting DASH messages. WS-Management is a specification of a core set of Web Services to expose a common set of system management operations...

The three data transfer models used by DASH and WS-management are:

  1. WS-Transfer: defines a mechanism for acquiring XML-based representations of entities. It defines the following resource operation using SOAP messages.

    1. Get: is used to fetch a one-time snapshot representation of a resource.
    2. Put: is used to update a resource by providing a replacement representation.
    3. Create: is used to create a resource and provide its initial representation.
    4. Delete: is used to delete a resource.
    5. WS-Management in addition defines the rename operation and fragment level transfer for fragment-level access of resources.

  2. WS-Enumeration: is a SOAP-based protocol for enumeration. Using this protocol, the data source can provide a session abstraction called the enumeration context. The consumer can then request XML element information over a span of one of more SOAP messages using the enumeration context. The enumeration context is represented as XML data. The following operations (defined as SOAP request/response messages) are supported using this model

    1. Enumerate: to initiate an enumeration and receive an enumeration context.
    2. Pull: to pull a sequence of elements of a resource.
    3. Release: to release an enumeration context (graceful).

  3. WS-Eventing: is a SOAP-based protocol for one web service to register interest and receive messages about events from another web service. The operations supported by WS-Eventing include Subscribe, Renew, GetStatus, Unsubscribe, and SubscriptionEnd. WS-Management defines heartbeats as pseudo-events. WS-Management also defines a book-mark mechanism for keeping a pointer to a location in the logical event stream. The delivery modes defined for events are: Push, Push with Acknowledgement (PushWithAck), Batched, and Pull.

Standardized Message Content: In order to foster greater interoperability between different implementations of management instrumentation and the applications that subscribe for and receive events, a set of standardized event message content has been defined. The event message content is specified in XML documents according to the DMTF Message Registry Schema. Message Registry entries consist of definitions for a message ID, message string, message arguments, perceived severity, and defining organization. Each Message in a registry represents a particular event type. DASH 1.0 uses message registries for the Message IDs, perceived Severity and interpretations of MessageArgs for each MessageID..."

From the DASH Announcement

Excerpts from the DMTF announcement March 22, 2007: "DMTF Announces DASH Initiative. Leading Technology Standards Body Delivers Innovative Framework for the Management of Desktop and Mobile Systems."

The Distributed Management Task Force, Inc. (DMTF), the industry organization leading the development, adoption and promotion of interoperable management initiatives and standards, today announced details of its Desktop and Mobile Architecture for System Hardware (DASH) Initiative — a forthcoming suite of specifications that takes full advantage of the DMTF's Web Services for Management (WS-Management) specification — delivering standards-based Web services management for desktop and mobile client systems. Through the DASH Initiative, the DMTF will provide the next generation of standards for secure out-of-band and remote management of desktop and mobile systems.

As outlined in a white paper released today, the DASH Initiative will deliver a set of specifications that provides architectural semantics, industry standard protocols and a set of profiles to standardize the secure management of desktop and mobile systems independent of machine state, operating platform or vendor. By tapping into the power of WS-Management, which enables a common way for systems to access and exchange management information across the entire IT infrastructure, DASH integrates desktop and laptop management into an end-to-end management solution. In addition, DASH works in concert with the DMTF's widely-implemented Common Information Model (CIM), so that it is easily incorporated into existing management environments.

"Since the DMTF's Desktop and Mobile Work Group (DMWG) was announced, the group has attracted more than 180 members from over 35 different companies, reflecting enormous support from the industry," said Winston Bumpus, president, DMTF. "The result is DASH, a significant step forward that utilizes the latest technologies to provide an advanced framework for desktop and mobile management. By delivering an interoperable approach and relief for this key pain point in the distributed enterprise, DASH will facilitate new levels of efficiency and help reduce costs."

Industry Support for DASH


"As an original founder, a long-time driver and a key contributor to the DMWG and the DASH Initiative, Broadcom is committed to providing standard-based management solutions to our enterprise customers," said Greg Young, vice president and general manager of Broadcom's High-Speed Controller line of business. "As a result, Broadcom is one of the first in the industry to provide DASH solutions in 2007 as part of our industry-leading line of Gigabit-Ethernet controller chips. Our support for DASH reinforces our commitment to the DMTF standards and to driving emerging standard-based technology."


"Dell is a founder and co-chair of the DMTF Desktop and Mobile Working Group because we want to help customers simplify systems management," said Margaret Franco, director, Dell business desktops. "DASH specifications, along with standards-based hardware, like Dell Precision workstations, OptiPlex desktops and Latitude notebooks, will deliver advanced systems management capabilities, support richer IT usage models and help customers manage costs."


"This industry-wide DASH effort will further HP's goal of reducing the total cost of technology ownership for business customers," said Alan Reed, vice president, Business PC Research and Development, HP. "The advancement and standardization of Web services-based management will solve some of the most difficult client management scenarios by enabling always-available, secure, and agentless management on HP Compaq business desktop, notebook and workstation platforms."


"DASH is a great complement to IBM Director and our suites of industry-leading systems management tools," said Dr. Tom Bradicich, IBM Fellow and vice president, Systems Technology, Blade, Rack and x86 Servers. "By leveraging DMTF Management Profiles, the DASH Initiative will provide advanced manageability of client systems."


"As a leader in industry standards for PC manageability for over two decades and as a founding member of the DMTF, Intel supports DASH as another advancement for IT as we move into the WS-Management era," said Gregory Bryant, vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Office Platform Division. "Intel vPro technology was originally designed to support a seamless transition to this new standard, and our 2007 product roadmap enables one of the industry's first DASH and WS-Management supported enterprise PCs through our next-generation Intel vPro technology."


"Microsoft is excited to see DASH and the WS-Management standard introduce XML Web services into the arena of desktop and mobile management," said Larry Orecklin, general manager of System Center marketing, Microsoft. "We have been a strong advocate of standards, such as WS-Management, as part of our Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI) and have accelerated the adoption of these technologies in Windows Vista and our System Center family of management solutions."


"With an ever growing mobile work force, secure Web services-based management is critical to keeping cost and complexity in check," said Alan Murray, vice president of product management at Novell. "The DASH specifications will provide Novell systems management solutions with a consistent interface for managing software and hardware assets for desktops and mobile devices."


"Interoperable, secure, and functionally rich management of multi-vendor desktop and mobile hardware is very important to Symantec," said Mark Bregman, chief technology officer of Symantec Corporation. "As a leader in providing platform agnostic infrastructure software, we support the DMTF in providing a comprehensive framework for interoperable desktop management through this specification."

WBEM Solutions

"WBEM Solutions plans to add support for the DMTF DASH Initiative to our standards-based management solutions and products," said Troy Biegger, vice president of Marketing and Sales, WBEM Solutions, Inc. "As the industry leader of DMTF standards-based commercial management solutions, DASH support in our product and service offerings will provide our customers with enterprise-level management capabilities for desktop and mobile management."


"As a founding member of the DASH working group and key contributor to the specification, AMD is pleased to see the broad adoption of DASH in the industry," said Terri Hall, vice president, Software Alliances and Solutions, AMD. "AMD continues its standards leadership by developing a comprehensive set of DASH test tools, available to all vendors, to ensure DASH solutions in the market are truly interoperable and realize the full value of DASH to IT customers."


"Avocent will support the DMTF's new DASH management Initiative for desktops and mobile systems, and we look forward to working with our customers and partners to deliver products based on this new Web services-based standard," said Dave Perry, executive vice president, Avocent Corporation. "DASH will help extend standardized management capabilities into these new domains — reducing the complexity for our joint IT customers."


"We are happy to support the DMTF's DASH in our nForce Media and Communication Processors," said Manoj Gujral, general manager for Commercial Platforms, NVIDIA Corporation. "By providing a unified and comprehensive framework for desktop and mobile management — from the necessary protocols to the helpful DMTF profiles — DASH delivers renewed simplicity, which will allow NVIDIA to deliver common management benefits to end users of Intel and AMD platforms built with NVIDIA nForce core-logic solutions."

About the DMTF

With more than 3,500 active participants representing 39 countries and nearly 200 organizations, the Distributed Management Task Force, Inc. (DMTF) is the industry organization leading the development, adoption and promotion of interoperable management initiatives and standards. DMTF management technologies include the Common Diagnostic Model (CDM), Desktop and mobile Architecture for System Hardware (DASH) and Systems Management Architecture for Server Hardware (SMASH) Initiatives, as well as Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) — including protocols such as CIM-XML and Web Services for Management (WS-Management) — which are all based on the Common Information Model (CIM). Information about the DMTF technologies and activities can be found at

Commentary and Related News

  • "DASHing Solution Proposed for Remote PC Diagnosis." By Eric Lai. From Computerworld (March 23, 2007). "A forthcoming set of specifications that the DMTF hopes to persuade component and hardware vendors as well as management software vendors to follow, DASH would be able to lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) for desktop and notebook computers, said Winston Bumpus, president of the Portland, Or.-based standards group. DASH will use another better-known DMTF specification, Web Services for Management (WS-Management), to enable management software to pull status information from PC hardware components and peripherals stored in flash memory, Bumpus said. That would allow machines that are "out-of-band," or not running normally, to be diagnosed and even fixed remotely. Most existing management software and monitoring technology rely on software agents running on the machines to send back status information, said Lars Ewe, a division marketing manager at AMD Inc., which is a supporter of DASH. But software agents don't work if the machine's operating system can't boot because the latter is hung, corrupted by a virus, or not yet deployed. "If you have a savvy administrator, DASH will let him diagnose whether an operating system is fried and let him remote boot it with a gold standard image of the OS," Ewe said. Or "if the hard drive is dead, you can see that. Or you can wake up a PC and read the POST BIOS test data, as long as the power isn't totally switched off." [...] Bumpus predicted that PCs with DASH capabilities will start shipping within the next six to 12 months. He declined to predict how long it would take for DASH to become mainstream, but noted that DASH's predecessor, Alert Standard Format (ASF), was introduced in mid-2003 and is now used in "tens of millions" of PCs, mostly within businesses. Neither WS-Management nor DASH is being proposed as an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard today, though Bumpus said that might happen in the future.

  • "XML-Based Desktop Management Standards Advance." By Amy Larsen DeCarlo and Andy Dornan (NWC Technology Analyst). From Network Computing (March 22, 2007). "DMTF says Web services-based specifications will facilitate mobile and desktop management and cut administration costs... It isn't often that competitors like Intel and AMD, Microsoft and Symantec or Dell, HP and IBM can all agree on something. When they do, it either represents the future of the PC industry or is so meaningless that it can be largely ignored in practice. DASH is still at the white paper stage, but judging from the WS-Management spec from which it is derived it looks like a bit of both. DASH is important because it will let enterprises use the WS-Management protocol for desktop and laptop PCs, potentially bringing client-side hardware into a SOA. However, the WS standards are designed to be extensible and most vendors describe their plans as standards-based (rather than truly standardized) so cross-vendor interoperability may be difficult to achieve..."

  • "Vendors Unite on Management Spec. DMTF Spec DASH Promises to Ease Desktop and Mobile Client Systems Management." By Denise Dubi. From Network World (March 22, 2007). "The Distributed Management Task Force announced on Thursday that it would deliver a set of specifications designed to enable better interoperability, security and management of desktop and mobile client systems... By tapping WS-Management as its management protocol, DASH operates at the application layer and is able to discover the presence of management resources and navigate between them, according to a DMTF technical paper. The standard will also be able to create and delete management resources, such as settings and dynamic values, and enumerate the contents of containers and collections, such as large tables and logs. The proposed specification also will be able to subscribe and delivery events generated by management resources and execute specific management methods. In terms of security, DASH utilizes industry standard network and transport layer encryption, authentication and authorization mechanisms, and establishes standard profiles for roles, authorization and account management..."

  • [March 27, 2007] "Dell, AMD 'DASH' Toward New Standards." By Scott Ferguson. From eWEEK (March 27, 2007). "Dell is readying a new generation of its OptiPlex commercial desktops to meet new industry management standards. The Round Rock, Texas, PC maker is scheduled to announce on March 27, 2007 that the next generation of its OptiPlex desktops will incorporate the new DASH (Desktop and Mobile Architecture For Systems Management Hardware) management and security standards. While the older standards gave administrators the ability to boot and power up PCs with an enterprise's fleet, the new standards look to take these management abilities a step further by adding extra security tools and new ways to check on the specific configurations of each desktop and notebook within a company. Margaret Franco, the director of Dell's Product Group, said the company's adoption of the new DASH standards will address the concerns of its customers and offer them additional management tools. The new standards will also use DMTF's WS-Management specifications, which will create a Web-based services management tool for desktops and laptops. Dell is not the only vendor looking to adopt DASH standards. At the Microsoft Management Summit in San Diego on March 26, 2007, Advanced Micro Devices took time to announce that it has developed new software testing tools called "SIMFIRE." Company executives said these testing tools will allow OEMs to meet the news DASH standards...:"

  • "AMD Promotes Industry Standards and Interoperability with New Testing Tools for Desktop and Mobile Manageability. AMD Rallies Industry Partners and Extends Leadership in Enabling Interoperable Platform Solutions that Promote Seamless Integration between Hardware and Software." — "Working to free the industry from the constraints of proprietary architectures and making it easier than ever for customers to manage today's increasingly diverse IT environments, AMD today announced new interoperability testing tools, codenamed 'SIMFIRE,' to help speed the adoption of the recently announced Desktop and mobile Architecture for System Hardware ('DASH') specification. Addressing the need to shorten the time between the introduction of a new standard and the availability of interoperable solutions for end users, the new tools from AMD are immediately available to vendors to help accelerate interoperable solutions for DASH — web-services based desktop and mobile client management standards announced last week by the Distributed Management Task Force, Inc. ('DMTF'). By enabling vendors to test their management applications and system implementations for DASH standards, the SIMFIRE tools, which will help facilitate the availability of interoperable desktop and notebook computers from multiple vendors, are designed to allow existing IT infrastructures to seamlessly and predictably manage their hardware assets. This effort expands AMD's strategy to leverage an open standards-based approach to implementing security, virtualization and manageability features in successive generations of AMD64 technology. An active member of the DMTF and a major contributor to the DASH specification, AMD is working to provide open and extensible software tools to partners by enabling a framework for enhanced IT platform management and security. The SIMFIRE tools are based on an open test framework, called Open Test Manager, which is part of the Open Web Services for Management ('WS-Management') project, to which AMD has already contributed numerous test cases, utilities and enhancements..."

About Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF)

With more than 3,500 active participants representing 39 countries and nearly 200 organizations, the Distributed Management Task Force, Inc. (DMTF) is the industry organization leading the development, adoption and promotion of interoperable management initiatives and standards. DMTF management technologies include the Common Diagnostic Model (CDM) initiative, the Systems Management Architecture for Server Hardware (SMASH) initiative, Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) — including protocols such as CIM-XML and Web Services for Management (WS-Management) — which are all based on the Common Information Model (CIM). Details on these initiatives are provided in the Backgrounder.

DMTF was founded in 1992. Board member companies included [2007-03] Cisco Systems; Dell Computer Corp.; EMC; HP; Hitachi, Ltd; IBM; Intel; Microsoft; Novell; Oracle; Sun Microsystems; Symantec; and WBEM Solutions.

The DMTF works closely with its Alliance Partners, including Blade Systems Alliance (BladeS), CompTIA, Consortium for Service Innovation, Enterprise Grid Alliance (EGA), 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), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Object Management Group, Printer Working Group, The Open Group, Organization for the Advancement Of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) Web Services Distributed Management (WSDM) Technical Committee, Service Availability Forum (SA Forum), Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) and TeleManagement Forum (TMF). These top industry standards bodies are working with and participating in the development of DMTF standards, including CIM — and its semantically rich definitions of management information — as a common approach to address the challenge of providing interoperable distributed management.

DMTFWork Groups and Committees

The DMTF's top-level committees, the Technical Committee, Interoperability Committee and the Marketing Committee, oversee the operations of the DMTF's Work Groups. Work Groups, comprised of DMTF members with specific areas of expertise, develop the various standards, specifications, and other documents in support of managing enterprise and Internet environments.

Technical Committee: The Technical Committee develops standards and initiatives for the DMTF. The Technical Committee oversees the following Work Groups:

  • Applications/Metrics
  • Architecture
  • Behavior and State
  • CIM Core Schema
  • Desktop and Mobile
  • Networks
  • Policy
  • Pre-OS
  • Server Management
  • System Virtualization, Partitioning, and Clustering
  • Telecom
  • WBEM Infrastructure and Protocols
    • WS-CIM
    • WIP-Management
    • WIP-Messages
    • WIP-Profiles

Interoperability Committee: The Interoperability Committee supplements the resources of the DMTF such that multi-vendor implementations of our technology can be compatible in the industry.

  • Interoperability Committee
  • CDM Forum
  • SMASH Forum

DMTF Technologies Diagram

"The DMTF's technologies are designed to work together to address the industry's needs and requirements for interoperable distributed management. These standards provide well-defined interfaces that build upon each other, delivering end-to-end management capabilities and interoperability. The interrelationships between the DMTF technologies in this diagram deliver incremental value throughout the stack, building added value with each additional layer that is implemented.

DMTF Technologies Diagram

Principal References

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