Microsoft, IBM Inject Life Into IT Management

Microsoft , IBM  and several other
leading high-tech vendors said they published a document illustrating how to model computer networks, applications and servers in XML.

The Service Modeling Language (SML), whose creators also include Cisco
Systems , EMC , Dell ,
Intel , HP , Sun Microsystems , BEA Systems  and BMC Software , is designed to help businesses manage services built on hardware
and software from various vendors.

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

While companies often have to write custom descriptions of each service, SML
could trigger a host of IT resource models that reduce costs and complexity
for customers, said Ed Anderson, marketing director for Microsoft’s Dynamic
System Initiative.

“What we’ve done is create a new modeling language that lets us describe
these IT elements so that businesses are going to have a more consistent
way of managing their environments even across different vendors’
solutions,” Anderson said in an interview.

While XML creates certain efficiencies for the computing industry, SML is an additional salve against the different formats used to describe XML

Having multiple formats to describe services causes a disconnect between
tools and management applications. This leads to manual translations, which
are often too error prone for tools and management applications to
realistically use.

“SML allow both vendors like IBM and Microsoft, as well as our customers, to
compose the definitions of their IT services much easier than they’ve ever
had to before because they don’t have to deal with different definitions of
an operating system, or what’s a server, or what’s an application,” said Ric
Telford, vice president of autonomic computing at IBM.

“When we have to develop a change management process against six or seven
different server vendors, and every server vendor has their own way of
describing what a server is, it makes it six or seven times harder and more
complex than it needs to be,” Telford added.

The companies will consider creating a library of core models to describe
generic resources, such as network elements, operating systems, storage
devices, desktops, server systems, Web servers and a directory service.

The group plans to submit the SML draft specification to an industry
standards organization later this year. This could include the World Wide
Web Consortium, OASIS or the Distributed Management Task Force.

OASIS might be the most logical place for SML; the group has allowed most
the major XML-oriented, Web services  specs to
foment in recent years, including WS-Security and WS-ReliableMessaging.

News Around the Web