DMTF announces new server management working group

The Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) Inc. announced on Monday that customers will soon have standard server hardware management interfaces thanks to its new Server Management Working Group — a group one analyst said is exactly what customers are looking for.

The DMTF is an organization of over 2,300 members with the intent to lead the development, adoption and interoperability of management standards and initiatives for enterprise and Internet environments.

According to the organization — which was formed in 1992 — the formation of the the Server Management Working Group is being lead by Dell Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp. and Intel Corp., which will build on DMTF’s Common Information Model (CIM) specification.

CIM is a conceptual information model for describing management that is not bound to a particular implementation, DMTF said, adding that this type of model allows for the interchange of management information between management systems and applications.

The organization said that the CIM platform allows delivery of a platform-independent, industry standard server hardware management architecture across diverse IT environments in the data centre.

According to Alan Freedman, research manager of infrastructure hardware at IDC Canada Ltd. in Toronto, the organization’s CIM compliance has been on the minds of vendors for over three years. He said the project has been evolving over the past few years and “it’s really a way to have different components of an infrastructure being able to communicate and having the vendors and end-users put together a heterogeneous data centre operation.”

Freedman went on to say that he agreed with the DMTF in that there “absolutely” exists a growing demand by customers for standard server hardware management interfaces. He added that on the user side, customers are looking for simplicity in two stages.

“The first is that they want to have everything to communicate with each other and secondly with the proliferation of smaller servers, it’s getting harder to manage. Even if you have one vendor it’s getting harder to manage your resources.”

“[The DMTF] talks a lot about the interoperability and the fact that you will be able to set up a heterogeneous system from multiple vendors, but that is only one part of it. It is the simplicity in managing all of the infrastructure resources,” Freedman noted.

The main focus of the new group will be to develop a common Command Line Interface (CLI) to enable local and remote management of server hardware in both operating system (OS)-present and OS-absent environments, according to the DMTF.

Also included in the Server Management Working Group are: Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Inc., Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp., OSA Technologies and Sun Microsystems, Inc.

The DMTF’s new group plans to hold its first meetings Dec. 17 to 18 and plans to deliver its primary specifications by July 1, 2004.