SOA Web Services XML: Why WSDM Matters
The role of WSDM in distributed IT management
By: Chris Peltz
Aug. 3, 2005 08:45 AM
The world of IT management has changed a great deal since the early days of SNMP and network management. IT organizations today are building and deploying a wide range of systems and applications that must be managed in a consistent and reliable way. Applications are being built from the ground up using service-oriented design principles, and an IT manager can no longer look to a single machine to determine the health and availability of the services being delivered. Resources are much more distributed and interconnected, and they are being deployed at an alarming rate. For IT, this poses additional challenges in having to keep track of changes and to build management solutions that can aid in linking business needs to IT.
With the variety of application platforms and technologies in use today, companies demand standardized approaches to managing these heterogeneous platforms. This is where WSDM can play an important role. WSDM, or Web Services Distributed Management, began as an OASIS Technical Committee in February 2003. For the past two years, leading management vendors have been working within the OASIS group to create a set of standards that use Web services technologies for management. OASIS officially approved a set of WSDM standards in March 2005.
In this article we take a much closer look at the various WSDM standards, the capabilities offered by some of these standards, and present some useful case studies that demonstrate the benefits of WSDM. The intention is for software architects and developers who design software that must be managed to gain a much better appreciation for the value of WSDM.
WSDM as a Management Standard
Before providing details of the capabilities offered by WSDM, it's important to clarify the relationship to existing management standards and technologies. Because WSDM is based on Web services technologies, it relies on standards such as XML Schema, WSDL, SOAP, and WS-Addressing.
At the same time, WSDM MUWS does not impose any specific management model in its implementation. For example, DMTF's Common Information Model (CIM) provides a common definition of management information for systems, networks, and applications. Work is already underway to map CIM resource models and related operations using WSDM-MUWS (see References section, "Proposal for a CIM mapping to WSDM").
Additionally, we shouldn't think of WSDM as a management instrumentation technology. It is expected that developers would still instrument their application with JMX, WMI, or other management technology. In the case of Java, Apache open source toolkits already exist today that allow a developer to expose Java-based applications with WSDM interfaces (Apache Web Services Muse: http://ws.apache.org/ws-fx/muse/). Additionally, the Java community is in the process of creating a Web services connector that supports JMX (JSR 262: Web Services Connector for Java Management Extensions [JMX] Agents: www.jcp.org/en/jsr/detail?id=262). In either case, the interface one uses for accessing a manageable resource (e.g., WSDM) can be considered separate from the technology used for instrumentation (e.g., JMX, WMI, Java, etc.).
Having these and other adapters in place will help to broaden widespread adoption of the technology. Such adapters will also make it easier for a management system to manage IT resources in a consistent, standards-based manner.
There are also specific benefits that can be gained for providers and consumers of IT resources.
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