Standards: Too Many Acronyms, Too Little Cooperation - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Hardware & Infrastructure
News
7/9/2004
04:07 PM
50%
50%

Standards: Too Many Acronyms, Too Little Cooperation

Businesses need interoperability to automate more functions, but that requires standards that are still very much in flux.

"The trouble with standards is there are too many of them," says Tim Grieser, an analyst with market-research firm IDC.

There's a feeling among many in the tech industry that breakthrough data-center automation won't be realized until IT management systems and processes can interoperate across vendors and platforms much better than they do today. That, however, will take solid standards, which can happen only if vendors cooperate. "The user doesn't care how it's done," Grieser says. "What they want is the proper service level."

A variety of industry organizations--the Distributed Management Task Force, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, and the Open Grid Services Architecture--are trying to develop standards for communication and implementation of automated IT operations.

In May, the Data Center Markup Language organization published a framework specification intended to improve interoperability among various components by establishing a way to describe the data-center environment, the relationships between the components, and policies governing management. The XML-based framework defines a conceptual data model in which elements of the data center can be described, with process rules for interpretation, including the grammar and structure to build networks, servers, applications, and services.

The effort is being led by Computer Associates, EDS, Opsware, and Tibco Software. Proponents believe using it can improve data-center operations in the same way the TCP/IP and HTML standards helped enable the Internet community.

"We're not manufacturing widgets, we're manufacturing services," says Louis Blatt, senior VP of product management and strategy at CA and DCML president. "As we create those services, we need to map them to the IT resources that support them so if there are defects in performance, you can isolate the root cause and quickly correct the problem."

But Jeff Smith, VP of demand automation for IBM Tivoli, calls the DCML spec "a proprietary approach that fundamentally is Opsware's." He notes that major hardware vendors, including Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Sun Microsystems--as well as Microsoft--aren't part of the DCML effort. "We're working with the DMTF to create a real standard that will remain closely related to" the Information Technology Infrastructure Library, a framework for defining the business process.

Blatt says DCML has submitted its specification to a number of standards bodies. DMTF and Oasis have shown interest in taking over the process, and both organizations count HP, IBM, and Sun as members, he says. "We launched the process to force the participation of the larger vendors and make them understand the criticality of a unifying platform," Blatt says. "We are well on our way to forcing the inclusion of the major hardware vendors into this vision."

There are similar efforts on the information-security front, since patch-management systems, firewalls, vulnerability scanning, and intrusion-detection systems generally don't communicate well.

To help simplify and integrate security functions, security vendors are developing standards such as the Application Vulnerability Definition Language. With AVDL, for example, when a new software vulnerability surfaces, a company's vulnerability scanner could spot the flaw. The scanner would send information to firewalls and patch-management systems, whose applications would use that data to adjust to better protect against attacks.

Return to main story, Automating The IT Factory

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2020 State of DevOps Report
2020 State of DevOps Report
Download this report today to learn more about the key tools and technologies being utilized, and how organizations deal with the cultural and process changes that DevOps brings. The report also examines the barriers organizations face, as well as the rewards from DevOps including faster application delivery, higher quality products, and quicker recovery from errors in production.
News
How to Create a Successful AI Program
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  10/14/2020
News
Think Like a Chief Innovation Officer and Get Work Done
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  10/13/2020
Slideshows
10 Trends Accelerating Edge Computing
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  10/8/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
[Special Report] Edge Computing: An IT Platform for the New Enterprise
Edge computing is poised to make a major splash within the next generation of corporate IT architectures. Here's what you need to know!
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll