Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Report from Management Developers Conference

About Management Developers Conference


Management Developers Conference (ManDevCon, MDC) is the annual conference of the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF).
The DMTF is the leading industry organization for interoperable management standards and initiatives. Mostly known for their Common Information Model (CIM) and the Web Services for Management (WS-Management) standards.
The full conference schedule can be viewed here.


I already had the opportunity to attend this conference last year. This year, I was accepted as a speaker with two presentations about WS-Management.


Conference overview


The conference has three blocks, one for learning ('university day'), one for demo and interop ('interop lab') and one for presentations.

It was interesting to see how the conference topics changed year over year. Last year, protocols and APIs were still under discussion. In 2006, the WS-Management and WSDM (OASIS Web Services Distributed Management) protocols were still competing. This year, working implementations of various standards dominated.
From a protocol perspective, WS-Management is the clear winner with virtually every systems vendor showing implementations. Microsofts adaption of WS-Management for all remote management on Windows (WS-Management comes build into Vista and is available as an add-on to Server 2003 and XP) was probably the driving force here. Openwsman, an open source implementation of WS-Management provided by Intel, is also picked up by lots of embedded vendors.

The interop lab revolved around implementations for CDM, DASH and SMASH.

CDM, the Common Diagnostic Model, is a CIM extension for diagnostic instrumentation. Its primary use is for vendor-agnostic remote health evaluation for hardware. Hewlett-Packard uses this extensively for their systems and requires each of their component suppliers for test routines available through CDM.
DASH (Desktop and mobile Architecture for System Hardware) and SMASH (Systems Management Architecture for Server Hardware) target management and monitoring of hardware components based on the WS-Management protocol.


Attended presentations


  • Opentestman

  • Opentestman is validation test suite for ws-man, ws-cim and dash-1.0. Its a (wild) mixture of bash scripts and java based utility tools. Tests are described in xml-based 'profile definition documents' (PDD), making the tests data-driven. It currently covers all mandatory and recommended features of the WS-Management and WS-CIM standards. More than 160 test cases exist for all 14 DASH 1.0 profiles. [DASH 1.1 was released early December]
    [Hallway discussions showed, that the current implementation of Opentestman is in urgent need of refactorization. So don't look too close at the code or it might hurt your eyes.]

  • ITSM and CIM

  • ITSM, Information Technology Service Management, can be described as managing the systems management. The presentation gave an overview on existing technologies and asked for participation to model this topic in CIM. Currently, several (policy/modeling) standards exist for this topic, e.g. Cobit (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology; mostly US, covering business and process mgmt), ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library; mostly Europe, covering service and process mgmt) and CIM (resource mgmt). IT process management has seen a big push recently. Lots of tools and companies appeared in the last couple of years offering services.
    With SML, a service modeling language exists. Other areas like availability management, performance/capacity management or event/incident/problem management do not have any established standard.

  • Using the CIM Statistical Model to Monitor Datapresentation

  • Brad Nicholes from Novell showed recent work to integrate existing open source solutions (using non-standard models and protocols) with CIM.
    Ganglia, a "scalable distributed monitoring system for high-performance computing systems such as clusters and Grids" uses rrdtool (round robin database tool) to view stastistical data with different granularity.
    One feature of Ganglia is to provide trending information (as opposed to simple alerting) to support capacity planning.
    Ganglia consists of a statitics gathering agent (gmond) running on every client. These agents are grouped in clusters, sharing all information within the cluster to ensure failover capabilities. The statistics aggregation agents (gmetad) run on specific managment servers, reporting to an apache web frontend.
    Brad has defined a CIM model and implemented CIM providers to access the data. Its basically rrdtool access, thereby drastically reducing the amount of data transported over CIM.

  • CIM Policy Language

  • This was a report from the DMTF policy working group defining CIM-SPL.
    SPL, the simplified policy language, defines more than 100 operators to express relations (examples given: os 'runsOn' host, os 'hasA' firewall) and actions (Update of CIM properties, execution of CIM methods).
    There exists a cli tool and an Eclipse plugin for developing and testing policies. The Apache Imperius project is about to release a sample implementation. Similar plans exist for the Pegasus CIMOM.

  • Nagios through CIM

  • This was another example of bringing open source, but non-standard implementations and CIM together.
    Nagios is a very popular monitoring and alerting framework. It comes with a rich set of data gathering plugins, available on nagiosexchange.org.
    Intel has developed an adapter layer to expose Nagios data through CIM. One can also mix a traditional CIM provider with a Nagios plugin, filling only particular properties from the plugin.
    The source code is not available publically (yet...).

  • Cimple and Brevity

  • Cimple and Brevity are code generator tools making it easier to develop CIM providers and tools. Cimple is a CIM provider generator. It takes a CIM class description (MOF file) as input and generates stubs for a CMPI provider. This way, a developer does not have to fight with the provider API but can concentrate on the instrumentation part. [The amount of code generated is still huge. For SLE11, Python providers are the better choice for most cases.]
    Brevity tries to ease writing client tools. For people developing in C or C++, Brevity is worth a look.
    [For modern scripting languages, better bindings exist. E.g powerCIM for Python and rwscim for Ruby.]

  • Management Frameworks

  • This talk was meant as a call for help to collaborate on a client framework standard. There are sufficient standards and implementations for getting instrumenting managed devices. But on the management application side, everyone reinvents the wheel.
    Mergers drive this on the side of traditional (closed source) vendors, else they end up with lots of different APIs.
    The proposed 'integrated framework and repository for end-to-end device view' consists of an 'agent tier' (instrumentation), a 'service tier' (see below) and an 'application tier' (API for management applications).
    Services can be divided into infrastructure (discovery, collectors (caching), notifications) and core services (data model, topology, policy, scheduling, security, framework service management, domain specific services).
    This is ongoing work sponsored by Sun Microsystems looking for further participation.

  • openwsman

  • Openwsman is an open source implementation of the WS-Management and WS-CIM protocol standards. Its currently at version 1.5.1 with 1.6.0 scheduled for end of year and 2.0 end of march '08.
    It consists of a generic library, a client library and a server library and daemon. The daemon can be used in parallel to existing CIMOM implementations, translating between WS-CIM and CIM/XML. The mod_wsman plugin for Apache provides co-existance of WS-Management and the Apache web server through the same port.
    Main features for next years 2.0 release are
    • full compliance to the specification (The current WS-Management specification is still not final)

    • WS-Eventing (asynchronous indications, for alerting etc.)

    • A binary interface to sfcb (to connect to cim providers without a cimom)

    • better support for embedded devices

    • Filtering (CQL, cimom query language; WQL, WS-Management query language, xpath, xml query language)




1 comment:

Sharkgrin said...

It seems currently CIM-SPL Is the standard of policy language,
but we can not leverage the XML XSD engine,

any alternative that is XML XSD?
we are going to implement the policy engine, but the CIM-SPL is not XML....
we might need to do one XML version of SPL by ourselves...

Shark