Several technologies come into consideration when discussing IT enterprise management. As new standards emerge, the industry in general rallies to support the “standard.” As software developers / OEMs (ie: HP, Dell, Cisco, IBM) embrace the “standard,” it becomes “publicly available” as an “Open Standard.” Some vendors will provide enhanced functionality creating a “locked down” version of the standard for their equipment only. While vendor-specific technology may be advantageous to a specific vendor, an “Open Standard” approach typically renders a more integrated management infrastructure, amid the reality that most environments are not isolated to a single vendor. Understanding the core technology for system management may assist in understanding the solutions provided by vendors.
DMTF (Distributed Management Task Force)
DMTF is an organization bringing the IT industry together to collaborate on systems management standards development, validation, promotion, and adoption. A recent example is OVF. OVF takes advantage of the DMTF’s (CIM), where appropriate, to allow management software to clearly understand and easily map resource properties by using an open standard.
CIM (Common Information Model)
CIM Specification defines the details for integration with other management models. CIM is built on the concept of management schemas, the building blocks for management platforms and applications. The CIM model has been around since 2005, providing a common standard for system management.
WBEM (Web-Based Enterprise Management)
Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) is a set of specifications published by DMTF that define how resources modeled using the DMTF’s Common Information Model (CIM) can be discovered, accessed, and manipulated. WBEM provides the ability for the industry to deliver a well-integrated set of standards-based management tools, facilitating the exchange of data across otherwise disparate technologies and platforms.
WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation)
WMI works great for environments that are running Windows Operating Systems, although it does not work with other operating systems. WMI is the CIM offering to support Windows Operating Systems. WMI is Microsoft’s support of WBEM (see below) in alignment with the Distributed Management Task Force (see below).
OpenLMI (Open Linux Management Infrastructure)
OpenLMI is the CIM offering to support Red Hat Operating Systems. Similar in function to WMI.
SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol)
A widespread protocol used that supports Windows, Red Hat, and other operating systems. A query against the SNMP collection will expose a lot of information by default. Some environments do not allow SNMP to be active; hence, alternatives like WMI and OpenLMI are available.
REST (Representational State Transfer)
REST is a stateless and straightforward architecture that generally runs over HTTP. For many, it is the “preferred protocol” to SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) as REST leverages very little bandwidth, which makes it a better protocol to transfer over the internet. REST’s decoupled architecture and lighter weight communication between producer and consumer, make REST very popular for cloud-based APIs. REST is becoming the “dial tone” for system interaction.
Now that we understand the key attributes of systems management, as well as the standards that have been in place for over a decade, we can begin to formulate our functionality and visualization strategy to accommodate a wide range of servers within our environment.
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