For IT managers who have spent many frustrating hours trying to get their disparate systems to work, the new draft specification of SML (service modeling language) by ten leading vendors is great news.

Ten major IT vendors including Microsoft Corp. and IBM Corp. recently released a draft of a new specification, the service modeling language (SML), which they claim will make it easier for customers to manage their heterogenous systems.

SML provides a consistent way to describe system information about computer networks, applications, servers and other IT resources including services in extensible markup language (XML), according to Kirill Tatarinov, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Windows enterprise management division.

Joining Microsoft and IBM in work on the draft are BEA Systems Inc., BMC Software Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., Dell Inc., EMC Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Intel Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc.

“We fully expect other vendors to support SML,” Tatarinov said, adding that having an initial ten companies work on the specification was more a factor of pushing the work along than of excluding anyone.

All ten vendors have published the draft specification on their Web sites to solicit feedback from the wider IT community including customers. They plan to submit SML to a standards body before the end of this year, Tatarinov said, but have yet to determine which organization to approach.