Recent IT management announcements

There were a few announcements relevant to the evolution of IT management over the last week. The most interesting is VMware’s release of the open-source (BSD license) VI SDK, a Java API to manage a host system and the virtual machines that run on it. Interesting that they went the way of a language-specific API. The alternatives, to complement/improve their existing web services SDK, would have been: define CIM classes and implement a WBEM provider (using CIM-HTTP and/or WS-Management), use WS-Management but without the CIM part (define the model as native XML, not XML-from-CIM), use a RESTful HTTP-driven interface to that same native XML model or, on the more sci-fi side, go the MDA way with a controller from which you retrieve the observed state and to which you specify the desired state. The Java API approach is the easiest one for developers to use, as long as they can access the Java ecosystem and they are mainly concerned with controlling the VMWare entities. If the management application also deals with many other resources (like the OS that runs in the guest machines or the hardware under the host, both of which are likely to have CIM models), a more model-centric approach could be more handy. The Java API of course has an underlying model (described here), but the interface itself is not model-centric. So what with all the DMTF-love that VMWare has been displaying lately (OVF submission, board membership, hiring of the DMTF president…). Should we expect a more model-friendly version of this API in the future? How does this relate to the DMTF SVPC working group that recently released some preliminary profiles? The choice to focus on beefing-up the Java-centric management story (which includes Jython, as VMWare was quick to point out) rather than the platform-agnostic, on-the-wire-interop side might be seen by the more twisted minds as a way to not facilitate Microsoft’s “manage VMWare today to replace it tomorrow” plan any more than necessary.

Speaking of Microsoft, in unrelated news we also got a heartbeat from them on the Oslo project: a tech preview of some of the components is scheduled for October. When Oslo was announced, there was a mix of “next gen BizTalk” aspects and “developer-driven DSI” aspects. From this report, the BizTalk part seems to be dominating. No word on use of SML.

And finally, SOA Software (who was previously called Digital Evolution and who acquired Blue Titan, Flamenco and LogicLibrary, in case you’re trying to keep track) has released a “SOA Development Governance Product”. Nothing too exciting from what I can see on InfoQ about it, but that’s a pretty superficial evaluation so don’t let me stop you. Am I the only one who twitches whenever “federation” is used to mean at worst “import” or at best “synchronization”? Did CMDBf start that trend? BTW, is it just an impression or did SOA Software give InfoQ a list of the questions they wanted to be asked?

4 Comments

Filed under DMTF, Everything, IT Systems Mgmt, Manageability, Mgmt integration, Open source, Oslo, OVF, SML, Standards, Tech, Virtualization, VMware, WS-Management

4 Responses to Recent IT management announcements

  1. So, it seems clear that VMware is playing a double game, using DMTF to promote model-centric platform-agnostic virtual infrastructure management but, in addition, providing “ad hoc” management models for their products.

    How long they could keep this two faces? :)

  2. Hi Fermin. The fact that they are doing both is pretty clear but I don’t see this negatively. I interpret your last sentence as being ironic but that in fact you too don’t mind the options offered, correct? After all, no-one calls Twitter duplicitous for offering JSON *and* XML versions of its API…

  3. Yes, maybe I was a bit ironic (sorry :) but, in fact, I think this is a clever strategy for VMware. However, what I wonder (and so tries to point the last sentence in my comment) is if they could keep this two “faces” in the long-term future or, eventually, they need to focus on one and give up the other (and in this case which ones and when).

  4. geep

    Actually, the VI Java effort is not an official VMware offering. It is
    something that an engineer from VMware has put out in an attempt to hide
    some of the complexities of the underlying web-services interface.

    VMware is already exposing a CIM based model for hardware health monitoring
    and for storage virtualization (SMASH and SMI-S). The problem with SVPC is
    that it is a young standard and not quite ready for prime-time. There are
    innate issues with the data model that make it impossible to scale in a large
    infrastructure. So any solution would need to rely on extensions to make it
    be enterprise-ready. And that is not much of a standard then. So the right
    answer is to work with the standards bodies on improving SVPC and then put out
    a solution that customers can actually use.
    Till then, toolkits written on top of the VI API are a good alternative. The
    VI Perl Toolkit was the first one and the PowerShell implementation really
    goes a long way to make life easier. A Java toolkit would make for a nice
    evolution to that.