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Group Advances Standard Aimed At Utility Computing

05/24/2004

The Data Center Markup Language (DCML) Organization released the first publicly available draft of the DCML 1.0 Framework Specification.



The group offered these details:

The specification represents a significant milestone for DCML and a stable base on which DCML subgroups can publish additional specifications. The DCML 1.0 Framework Specification enables organizations to take the first step towards utility computing by defining: (1) the conceptual data model in which data center elements are described and how the data model is extended to represent those specific elements, (2) the processing rules for interpreting DCML document instances, (3) the semantics, grammar, structure, and other organizational aspects on which to build environment extensions, such as networks, servers, applications, and services, and (4) relationships with other standards, such as CIM and WSDM. The specification can be downloaded at http://www.dcml.org/specification.asp.

While other organizations focus on standardizing the interfaces for various IT components (e.g. SNIA for storage, CIM for desktops), the DCML Organization provides the only overarching specification that addresses a standard data format for sharing information between all IT management systems and codifying management policies to enable automation and utility computing. The DCML Framework Specification defines key concepts and vocabularies for the data center environment, which will be used by the DCML Working Groups to define data center components and processes in their respective areas.

The Framework Specification was designed with the following goals:

--Interoperability – DCML provides a common language that can be used by management systems to express their knowledge of the managed environment.

--Visibility – DCML improves the quality of information and the means to acquire information by providing a common data format.

--Enable automation – The DCML vocabulary describes the managed environment and the policies governing its management in a way that enables tools to automate cross-system management tasks such as rebuilding after catastrophic failure.

--Extensibility – The DCML Framework defines how new schemas are created to describe the information necessary to manage new applications, system software and hardware.

--Flexibility – DCML syntax and semantics are flexible in describing logical and physical concepts.

--Scalability – Because the amount of knowledge about a managed environment can be quite large, DCML enables management systems to export only a subset of their knowledge.

--Security – DCML allows portions of information in management systems to be encrypted and/or signed.

--Installed base – DCML contains provisions that will allow it to work with all technologies, management systems, and other management standards that make up data centers. This enables companies to receive the benefits of utility computing today, with their existing infrastructure.

"By providing a unifying language for utility computing, DCML enables companies to reduce complexity in their infrastructure while increasing service levels, and dynamically aligning with business priorities," said Louis Blatt, president of the DCML Organization. "DCML offers the only vendor-neutral specification and builds upon existing standards to provide the core competency of associating assets with services, roles, environment architecture and IT policies."

DCML is the only open, XML-based standard designed to achieve interoperability by providing a systematic, vendor-neutral way to describe the data center environment, functional relationships between data center components, and policies governing the management of the environment. By creating a blueprint of the complete data center infrastructure with all of its component relationships, dependencies, configurations, operational policies and management processes, DCML gives organizations the power to more efficiently provision and manage the data center environment. DCML works in conjunction with existing standards that are focused on addressing specific elements of IT management, and provides a highly flexible model allowing IT organizations to capture the knowledge of both current and future managed environments.

The DCML Organization is an open, independent, vendor-neutral, non-profit corporation formed to create an open, freely licensed specification, Data Center Markup Language (DCML), and to encourage its broad adoption. DCML is the first standard that provides a structured model and encoding to describe, construct, replicate and recover data center environments and elements. DCML is designed to provide a mechanism to enable data center automation, utility computing and system management solutions to exchange information about the environment to make utility computing a reality. In addition to developing specifications, the organization intends to work with formal standards bodies, enable and administer certification and compliance programs, and perform user and market education.

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