Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Mapping the IT Universe

The annual Management Developers Conference organized by the DMTF started yesterday with the University Day.

DMTF (Distributed Management Task Force) is an industry organization leading the development, adoption and promotion of interoperable management standards and initiatives. Its mission is no less than Mapping the IT Universe by standardizing an object-oriented model (CIM) and related protocols (WBEM).

The conference was opened by a reception celebrating 15 years of DMTF and 10 years of CIM. Winston Bumpus gave a short overview on the history of the DMTF.

The DMTF was founded in 1992 as the Desktop Management Task Force, focussing on standards for managing desktop PCs. Two years later, the Desktop Management Interface (DMI) was published and quickly adopted. After releasing DMI 2.0 in August 1996, their mission was accomplished and the board considered closing the DMTF.

At that point, Patrick Thompson from Microsoft proposed to extend the management standardization beyond desktops and to cover the complete IT landscape. The original proposal already contained the key aspects and architectural components which are still valid today:

  • HMMS (Hypermedia Management Schema) — CIM today

  • HMOM (Hypermedia Object Manager) — CIMOM today

  • HMMP (Hypermedia Management Protocol) — CIM/XML over HTTP today

Initially a gang of five, namely BMC, Compaq, Intel, Microsoft and Sun accepted the proposal and continued funding the DMTF. In a tour de force with biweekly meetings over a period of 6 months the DMTF was able to present the Common Information Model 1.0 (CIM) in April 1997. It only covered the object-oriented modelling without any transportation protocol. This was added another year later (August 1998) with the Web Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) standard.

In 1999, the DMTF was renamed to Distributed Management Task Force, keeping the acronym (and all the advertising materials).

Today more than 200 companies with over 4000 participants contribute to the ongoing standardization efforts. In the 'Industry Showcase' and 'Interop Lab' rooms of the Conference, a wide variety of devices, tools and applications based on CIM are shown.

With the broad acception of Web Services for Management (WS-Management) true interoperable systems management now becomes a reality. Implementation range from baseboard management controllers (see here for drivers) and embedded devices to Open Source stacks and Microsoft Windows.

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