A group of vendors led by Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. on Friday will publish a specification for using Web services to manage a range of IT infrastructure elements.
The Web Services Management specification, which the group will present next week to the Distributed Management Task Force for its feedback, is intended to help IT reduce the cost and complexity of managing hardware ranging from chips and handheld devices to data center servers.
"The reason I think customers want us to innovate in this space is that todays management solutions are focused on solving problems in the data center. We want to provide a group standard for managing any type of device at any time. Its not just about baking management into software. Its also about baking management into the hardware," said David Hamilton, director of Microsofts Windows enterprise management division in Redmond, Wash.
The specification is designed to exploit Web services as a common communications mechanism to conduct a variety of management tasks.
Hamilton asserted that the WS-M specification does not compete with the OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) Web Services Distributed Management model, but rather is complementary to that specification.
"The WSDM effort is more focused at the needs of traditional management vendors in providing sophisticated information on applications and services running in the data center. Customers management needs are much broader and reach down to devices that are in a preboot state or dont even have operating systems. We believe this is complementary—our broad focus and their deep focus in a particular area," he said.
The groups initial focus is to gather feedback on its specification and refine it before taking it to a standards body, according to Pete McKiernan, lead product manager in Microsofts platform strategy group.
"Were holding an open invitation feedback workshop where people can comment, dig into the details, identify areas of ambiguity, and then hold a series of implementation workshops," said McKiernan. "When we get to the point of choosing a standards body, we can demonstrate a lot of interoperability," he added. Whether the group will ask the DMTF or another standards body to take the specification forward is an open question now.
Within its own products, Microsoft will support WS-M in the next release of Windows Server as well as the next release of Microsoft Operations Manager.
Intel will incorporate WS-M into its Cross Platform Manageability Program, which provides a common architecture for implementing manageability across everything from servers to notebooks, according to Lorie Wigle, marketing director for Intels Manageability Architecture and Products Division in Portland, Ore.
"The impetus for us participating in this is direct customer feedback. There is a strong cry to industry to stop differentiating on manageability," Wigle said.
WS-M initially debuted in May at the WinHEC conference in Seattle as the WMX specification.