Have you caught on to some of the recent buzz around SML (Service Modeling Language)? Part of this is because the newly released Configuration Manager 2007 is the first Microsoft product that offers customers a tangible step on the ladder towards self-managing systems (the Dynamic Systems Initiative drive). For example, the Computer World article that heralded the release of Configuration Manager was all about the underlying support for SML rather than the new feature set. And Brad Anderson’s (General Manager, MSD) blog entry SDM, SML, and a bunch of other TLA's... dispelled possible confusion around the move from Systems Definition Model (SDM) to SML to reassure us that this migration path is transparent to customers.
As Brad explains, SML underpins the desired configuration management feature in Configuration Manager 2007, which helps you to define and assess configuration compliance of computers in the enterprise. For an overview of the desired configuration management feature and some example scenarios, see Overview of Desired Configuration Management and Example Scenarios for Implementing Desired Configuration Management.
You don’t have to know or use SML to be able to define your own compliance configurations: you can author your own configuration items and configuration baselines using the wizards in the desired configuration management feature, and you can author externally using DCM Digest (which helps to abstract some of the complexities associated with SML). But if you want to author directly in SML for maximum flexibility, this is also an option.
For more information about the 3 authoring options, see About Authoring Configuration Data for Desired Configuration Management. This topic contains a couple of references for SML, including http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=78991. During the beta release, this link went to a Web site to download the SML specification. But with the release of Configuration Manager 2007, a snazzy new Web site has been created specifically for SML, and the link has been updated accordingly. We have Craig Liebendorfer (Technical Editor, MSD UA), to thank for this SML-dedicated site! Following this link now takes you to the Service Modeling Language page within the Manageability TechCenter Web site.
If you want to author in SML, or simply learn more about this up-and-coming technology, I recommend you bookmark this Web site as more resources become available. Today, you can download a step-by-step guide and technical reference, and there are still links to download the SML specifications. Additionally, resource links include an introduction to SML, schematron references, an SML blog, and external references that support SML.
I would particularly like to thank our good friend, Judith Herman (Programming Writer, MSD UA), for her hard work in writing and making available the useful step-by-step guide and SML reference to coincide with the release of Configuration Manager 2007.
Information about authoring in DCM Digest and how to use your SML files with desired configuration management is contained within the Configuration Manager 2007 SDK. This is currently still in beta, and can be downloaded from the Microsoft Connect site. We would welcome any feedback about the current authoring documentation (DCM Digest and SML), and any suggestions for samples in the SDK.
You can e-mail our desired configuration management SDK writer directly (Jim.Bradbury@Microsoft.com) or our SDK Doc Feedback alias (cmsdkdoc@Microsoft.com). Any other feedback about the documentation, send to SMSDocs@Microsoft.com.
- Carol Bailey
This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties and confers no rights.