Updated CIM manages Unix, WBEM

At its developers' conference, the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) Monday released Version 2.6 of the Common Information Model (CIM), which includes models to administer Unix systems and Web-based Enterprise Management networks.

DMTF President Winston Bumpus says the latest version of CIM - a model for describing management information to help systems, networks, applications and devices interoperate - has been extended to add support for Unix and Linux. CIM 2.6 includes Unix-specific concepts and subclasses, and it maps to the Open Group's Single Unix Specification standards. The Unix model can be used in Solaris, Linux, HP-UX and other Unix environments.

The newest version also defines CIM classes to work with Web-based Enterprise Management (WBEM) environments.

WBEM uses Internet technologies to manage systems and networks; browsers and applications can access management information through formats such as HTML and XML. Built into Windows 98 and 2000, WBEM would use CIM as the database for information about computer systems and network devices. Originally an initiative of Microsoft, Intel and others, WBEM was passed to the DMTF in 1998.

"The promise of CIM is to ensure all management systems and managed systems are using the same object model, so the more extensions we can make to include more systems and devices and technologies, the better the interoperability," Bumpus says.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the DMTF is hosting this week its annual conference for its 170 member vendor companies, 10 partner standards bodies and 50 university alliances. Bumpus says the group will now be expanded to include about 17 large end-user companies, including the likes of Boeing, Chevron and Nike. The added perspective will drive the group's work even further toward solving real management issues in today's networks, he says.

"The user company perspective is so important to what we're trying to accomplish," Bumpus says. "We will be able to hear more about application management and other real, live issues users have with management."

The DMTF this year will make available a CIM compliance tool for both vendors and end users, Bumpus says. In beta now, the Web download would tell users if the tools they produce or purchase will interoperate with others that use CIM. The tool is only available to members in its beta stage, but the DMTF plans to make it available for the public this fall. Users simply download the compliance software and run it locally against files in their systems to find if they are CIM-compatible.

"It will allow vendors to test and get the problems out in their own labs before they distribute the tools," Bumpus says. The goal of the DMTF is to promote better management through interoperability, so he says offering a tool to work out the kinks in-house is a good step forward.

With a couple hundred attendees at this year's conference, Bumpus says the DMTF will be looking to use CIM to model more applications, wireless and mobile networks, and even address emerging Web services with future endeavors.

CIM 2.5 was released June 2001.

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