CMDBf now in the hands of the DMTF

It’s now official, the CMDBf specification has been submitted to the DMTF and will be standardized there. Here is the press release and here is the specification (unchanged) republished on the DMTF site. The CMDBf working group was created a while ago at the DMTF but I didn’t report it since it wasn’t clear to me whether that was public information or not. The press release makes this clear now.

As a side note, this is one of my ongoing frustrations with the DMTF. Almost everything happens in private with no publicly-accessible URL until a press release comes out and of course lots of interesting things happen that don’t get a press release. I have heard many times that the DMTF is working on opening up the process, but I still haven’t seen much change. If this had been OASIS or W3C, the call for formation of the new working group would have been publicly accessible even before the group was created. OK, end of ranting.

As always, there isn’t much useful information to be gleaned from the text of the press release. Only that, as expected, the authors addressed the question of how this relates to CIM, since for many DMTF=CIM. So the press release proactively declares that the CMDBf work will not be limited to CIM-modeled configuration data. What this means in practice will be seen later (e.g. will there be CIM-specific extensions?).

Having seen how executive quotes for press releases get generated I hate to read too much into them, but another thing I can’t help noticing in the press release is that none of the quotes from the companies submitting the specification tout federation, but simply “integration” or “sharing”. For example: “integration and interoperability” (BMC), “share data” (CA), “sharing of information” (HP), “view, track and change information” (IBM), “exchange data” (Microsoft). This more realistic assessment of what the specification does stands in contrast to the way the DMTF presents it in the press release : “this specification provides a standard way to federate management data stored in multiple different data models”. At this point, it doesn’t really provide federation and especially not across different models.

All in all, it’s as good thing for this work to be moved to a standards organization. I may join the CMDBf group at the DMTF to track it, but I don’t plan to engage very much as this area isn’t my focus anymore now that I am at Oracle. But of course everything is linked at some level in the management field.

[UPDATE  on 2007/11/30: two days after posting this message I got the monthly DMTF newsletter which touches on points I raise here. So here are the relevant links. First, Mike Baskey, DMTF Chairman, shares his view on what CMDBf means for DMTF. Second, as if to respond to my rant on the opacity of the DMTF, Josh Cohen, DMTF Vice-chairman, gives an update on process improvements. Some progress indeed, but still a far cry from opening up mailing list archives so that observers can see in real time what issues are addressed and can go back in time to understand how a specific technical decision was made and what were the considerations.]

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