The CMDB Distributed Management Taskforce (DMTF) - a standard for connecting CMDBs and MDRs

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Back in 2007 when I was still at BMC Software as Global Best Practices Director I worked with their CTO, Tom Bishop who worked on setting up an industry taskforce to set a standard for CMDB connectivity. As always these taskforces take some time to document their goals and objectives and then to actually release a specification. Well it did take 2 years for the specification to be released. Back in July of this year, the Distributed Management Taskforce (DMTF) gave its approval for the CMDBf specification for supporting federated CMDB systems -- or as ITIL v3 says, a federated Configuration Management System (CMS). In this vision, multiple reconciled sources including management data repositories, discovery systems, etc. can provide a cohesive frame to support more effective service management in its broadest, cross-discipline sense.

The CMDBf specification was first released by the CMDB Federation Workgroup in August of 2007, and the DMTF announced the creation of a working committee around the CMDBf specification on November 27, 2007. The Workgroup included BMC, CA, Fujitsu, HP, IBM and Microsoft in Q3 200. Some vendors left out wondered why they weren't included, but in this case small is beneficial. Keeping the group small was considered essential if progress was going to be made. Knowing how difficult it is to get busy people from different organisations together, I would agree that keeping it small and focused was the only way to get results, and 6 of the largest software vendors in the ITSM space is small, but powerful.  

Looking at the specifics, the CMDBf specification leverages SOA (Service Orientated Architecture) standards such as SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol ), XML (Extensible Markup Language) schema, HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol ), and WS-I (Web Services Interoperability). It describes how APIs (application Program Interface) and calls to CMDB registration APIs can be pre-built into the management data repositories (MDRs) of management tool set providers. In this way, a federating CMDB can access data from a multiple MDRs using the query service defined in the specification. MDRs can push data to a federating CMDB using a registration service. The specification also supports CMDB-to-CMDB federation, as CMDBs can extract data from each other using the query service. In essence, the specification supports data access in a federated mode, as well as bi-directional data sharing across federated CMDBs.

Boy we like using acronyms! This is the first time I've really seen the term "Management Data Repositories" (MDR) used seriously and it's really what the CMS is all about, in my opinion. A term we should use when explaining the CMS to the Business, as it will resonate much more with them.

If such a vision is to become reality, then the industry needs a more consistent approach for federating multiple sources than the current rag-tag mix of adapters, APIs, and other technologies that still make federation, especially federation across multiple brands, such a painful experience.

For more information check out the DTMF announcements here >>

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Happen to think this whole area is key going forwards. The data centre of the future will be selectively outsourced - core skills and data in house, and other parts e.g. networks, desk top apps etc. being managed by outside service providers. How do these separate entities talk to each other? How do they decide on priorities? How does your service provider communicate with you re service levels and whether they are being achieved? Do they have real time access to your SLAs and Service Models or do they report to you once a week / month (too late) on what they delivered?


Peter, I totally agree with you on that. The worrying thing is many are simply saying it will be handled within "the cloud", which is fine, but how? Maybe our Cloud experts (Israel etc) on here will jump in with ideas.

Ken, I've never questioned the value of standards in increasing the ease & effectiveness of integration activities. Looking back over the last 20 years we have great examples (...primarily from TCP/IP Protocol Suite) of de facto standards that have enabled data transmission at multiple physical and logical levels. The use of these standards within CMDBf is encouraging. The ability of IT to get a grasp on what is in their environment can only help IT's success in resolving application level issues seen/reported by the business end user. What odds do you give that CMDBf is going to become the promised configuration "standard" within IT management initiatives?

Well maybe it'll be easier than we think! This week launched a new service using it's cloud technology appears to offer cloud technology platform that traditional software can build upon and transform their services to be SAAS enabled. check out this video link.

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This page contains a single entry by Ken Turbitt published on November 19, 2009 1:29 PM.

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