RealTime IT News

Modeling's The Next Big Project on W3C Runway

IBM , HP , Microsoft  and several other top technology vendors are hoping the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) will develop a new standard specification for describing computer services in XML.

The vendors said the W3C has acknowledged the Service Modeling Language (SML), which uses XML  to describe how computer networks, applications, servers, storage and other IT resources be modeled, as a candidate for a new standard.

If the spec becomes a standard, it would help eradicate a major stumbling block to creating XML-based services that can be used in environments where products from multiple vendors are employed.

SML, which embodies the spirit of service-oriented architecture (SOA)  distributed computing, will help corporations craft service models at a time when systems topologies are becoming increasingly convoluted.

SML eliminates the problem of numerous methods representing the same IT resource and automates service models to reduce hand-coding and other manual labor tasks, according to Ric Telford, vice president of Autonomic Computing for IBM.

Traditional programming models require custom descriptions of every service, with different formats requiring a translation process. This is an inefficiency that can lead to the misinterpretation of technical details.

SML is designed to come to the rescue.

"You can create models of Windows or Linux operating systems, HP servers or IBM storage devices from the base models to drive your IT operations," Telford said.

Telford also said users can use SML to compare the current state of a server to the desired state of a server. Users can bridge the gap by making changes in the IT environment, a benefit that can also ensure compliance at a time when regulations call for more control of data in a computer system.

William Vambenepe, a distinguished technologist for HP Software, said SML ensures high levels of regularity within a system.

"You want to specify desired state at a relatively high level," Vambenepe said. "You want to say 'I want a server that supports 5,000 people'; you don't to specify every single knob that has to be turned for that to happen. SML lets you specify the desired state."

Vambenepe said that now that the W3C has accepted SML as a proposal, the standards body will form a working group around it and work on it until it can be recommended as a standard. That timeline can take anywhere from six months to two years.

Additional backers of SML include BEA Systems , BMC Software , CA , Cisco Systems , Dell , EMC , Intel , and Sun Microsystems .