Technology Leaders Release Service Modeling Language

ARCwire -- BEA Systems Inc., BMC Software Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., Dell Inc., EMC Corp., HP, IBM Corp., Intel Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. announced they have published a draft of a new specification that defines a consistent way to express how computer networks, applications, servers, and other IT resources are described—or modeled—in extensible markup language (XML) so businesses can more easily manage the services that are built on these resources.

As a result of collaboration, the open, industrywide specification defines a common language for expressing information about IT resources and services. Called the Service Modeling Language (SML), the specification enables a hierarchy of IT resource models to be created from reusable building blocks rather than requiring custom descriptions of every service, thus reducing costs and system complexity for customers. The group plans to submit the draft specification to an industry standards organization later this year.

The common modeling language is an important step in simplifying IT management in multivendor environments, providing a way for information to be shared across diverse tools and applications. Constructing a complete picture of the IT environment out of a series of reusable building blocks rather than requiring a fully customized description of every service is crucial. It reduces the cost and complexity associated with delivering the levels of service and responsiveness businesses need from IT today while increasing a business's IT agility and its ability to adapt its IT in time to meet changing needs.

In addition to the publication of the SML specifications, the companies also announced their intent to explore development of a library of core models to describe generic resources, such as network elements, operating systems, storage devices, desktops, server systems, Web servers, and directory services. With an agreed-upon standard library of definitions for this core set of resources and services, every vendor would be able to establish the generic nature of, and relationship between, every component of a specific IT service without prior knowledge of the objects that make up that service.

Bob Mick, ARC Advisory Group, commented, "SML provides a framework for industry collaboration and the additional standardization that is needed to reduce the cost of managing increasingly complex IT landscape. This sort of advancement is especially important for manufacturing environments, where the diversity is greater and the benefits of good IT management is greater."

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