We’ve talked about it before and we’ll talk about it again, are strong believers in the customer benefits of standards.  In Windows Server 2012 we invested heavily in standards based management to deliver great customer value and will continue with these investments going forward. In today’s blog Wassim Fayed, a Principal PM in our Standards Based Management team talks about a significant advance in the industry’s embrace of this approach.  It’s great to see this area grow and gather momentum.  If you don’t have standards based management in focus, you should invest a bit to understand what is going on in your industry.  This blog is a great start.

Cheers! Jeffrey

Evolution of standards-based management in Windows

In a world where management has shifted from managing one server to managing many complex, heterogeneous servers and clouds, standards-based management—long supported by Microsoft—has become essential. We were one of the founding members of the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF), and shipped the first, and richest, Common Information Model Object Manager (CIMOM) we know as Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI). In 2005, Microsoft, along with 12 other companies, submitted WS-Management for DMTF standardization. Since then, the specification has been improved, stabilized and implemented widely by the industry. Today, the specification reached its highest level of maturity as it became an ISO (International Organization for Standardization)/IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) international standard. Windows Remote Management (WinRM), Microsoft’s implementation of WS-Management, has been included with Windows since Windows XP. Today, all versions of Windows, both client and server from XP forward, support WS-Management through WinRM. System Center uses WS-Management to remotely manage systems. This includes both Windows and Linux (System Center Cross Platform). Windows PowerShell uses WS-Management for remote shell access.

In Windows Server 2012, standards-based management was necessary to help make Windows Server 2012 the best Cloud OS. WS-Management provided remoting access for managing Windows resources by using CIM + WS-Management. While WMI has served our customers and partners well, the true promise of standards-based management was only realized through completing and making our WS-Management implementation, WinRM, the default remote management protocol for Windows. In Windows today, Windows PowerShell remoting is built on WS-Management. Additionally, WMI’s default protocol is no longer DCOM, but WinRM.

WS-Management as a management protocol

WS-MAN was developed to enable remote management of systems over a firewall friendly protocol such as HTTP while utilizing existing tools and investments in SOAP.  With the 1.0 and 1.1 releases, WS-MAN has been used as the preferred protocol for desktop and mobile system management as part of the DASH initiative and a recommended protocol for server systems management as part of the SMASH initiative.  Hardware from different vendors in the market today have support for DASH and SMASH and can be managed by Windows and System Center products. 

The Web Services for Management (WS-Management) Specification describes a simple object access protocol (SOAP) for managing systems such as PCs, servers, devices, and other remotely manageable entities. The WS-Management protocol identifies a core set of web service specifications and usage requirements that expose a common set of operations central to all systems management. This includes the ability to do the following:

  • Get, put (update), create, and delete individual resource instances, such as settings and dynamic values
  • Enumerate the contents of containers and collections, such as large tables and logs
  • Subscribe to events emitted by managed resources
  • Execute specific management methods with strongly typed input and output parameters

WS-Management now an ISO/IEC standard

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. This body ensures that products and technologies that reach the ISO standardization are of the highest quality, meeting international demands and requirements. ISO standards gain governmental and broader industry support and adoption.

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is a non-profit, non-governmental international standards organization that prepares and publishes International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies – collectively known as "electrotechnology".

We are pleased to report that on January 30, 2013, Web Services for Management (WS-Management or WS-Man) was adopted as an international ISO/IEC standard. With WS-MAN now an international standard, expect to see a wider range of products that will be manageable using WS-MAN.  Imagine being able to manage all types of devices in your datacenter using a consistent set of tools, practices, and skills.  This helps to simplify the datacenter and lower cost of both adoption and on-going management of systems as well as make related skillsets more valuable in the marketplace.

As an ISO/IEC standard, WS-Management, is uniquely positioned to play a key role in streamlining the IT world as more devices and solutions adopt it as the standard protocol for management.  The approval of WS-Management as an ISO/IEC standard is further evidence of the global interest in standards-based management of systems, applications, and devices.

Microsoft makes it easier for the rest of the industry to adopt standards based management

While Windows Server 2012 is the best Cloud OS, supporting the latest ISO/IEC standards such as WS-Management, Windows Server 2012 must interoperate with many devices and technologies in a predictable and standard fashion. To address this issue, and to help the industry adopt and embrace standards-based management, Microsoft has designed and implemented OMI (Open Management Infrastructure) as a small and scalable CIMOM which implements CIM and WS-Management. We contributed OMI as an open source project to Open Group in August 2010.

The public availability of OMI means that you can now easily compile and implement a standards-based management service into any device or platform from a free open-source package, by using the WS-Management ISO/IEC standard protocol and CIM. Our goals are (1) to remove obstacles that stand in the way of implementing standards-based management, so that every device in the world can be managed in a clear, consistent, coherent way; and (2), to nurture a rich ecosystem of standards-based management products.

Further Reading

The following is an architectural overview of the WS-Management stack:

WS-Management Stack 

The DMTF version of WS-Management 1.1 can be found here.

The WS-Management 1.1 ISO/IEC specification can be found here.

The main WS-Management spec is composed of the following specifications available on the DMTF web site: