distributed management environment

Distributed Management Task Force

Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF, formerly "Desktop Management Task Force") is a standards organization that develops and maintains standards for systems management of IT environments in enterprises and the Internet. These standards allow building systems management infrastructure components in a platform-independent and technology-neutral way. They provide for systems management interoperability between IT products of different producers without costly transformations and adaptations.


The DMTF was founded in 1992. It is an open organisation where companies, other organisations and single persons can become members. In 2005, the DMTF had more than 3500 participants out of more than 200 organisations and companies (such as AMD, Cisco, Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Symantec, WBEM Solutions). The DMTF is organized in working groups where the participants jointly develop and maintain the standards. The DMTF has alliances with a number of other organisations and with academia.


DMTF standards include:

  • Common Information Model (CIM) - The CIM schema is a conceptual schema that defines how the managed elements in an IT environment (for instance computers or storage area networks) are represented as a common set of objects and relationships between them. CIM is extensible in order to allow product specific extensions to the common definition of these managed elements. CIM uses a model based upon UML to define the CIM Schema. CIM is the basis for most of the other DMTF standards.
  • Common Diagnostic Model (CDM) - The CDM schema is a part of the CIM schema that defines how system diagnostics should be incorporated into the management infrastructure.
  • Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) defines protocols for the interaction between systems management infrastructure components implementing CIM, a concept of DMTF management profiles, that allows defining the behavior of the elements defined in the CIM schema, the CIM Query Language (CQL) and other specifications needed for the interoperability of CIM infrastructure.
  • Systems Management Architecture for Server Hardware (SMASH) defines a command line protocol for interacting with CIM infrastructure, and DMTF management profiles for server hardware management.
  • System Management BIOS (SMBIOS) defines how the BIOS interface of x86 architecture systems is represented in CIM (and DMI).
  • Alert Standard Format (ASF) defines remote control and alerting interfaces for OS-absent environments (for instance a system board controller of a PC).
  • Directory Enabled Network (DEN) defines how LDAP directories can be used to provide access to CIM managed elements and defines CIM to LDAP mappings for a part of the CIM schema.
  • Desktop Management Interface (DMI) - DMI was the first desktop management standard. Due to the rapid advancement of DMTF technologies, such as CIM, the DMTF defined an "end of life" process for DMI, which ended March 31, 2005.
  • Desktop and mobile Architecture for System Hardware (DASH) - a management standard based on DMTF Web Services for Management (WS-Management), for desktop and mobile client systems.
  • Virtualization Management Initiative (VMAN) - A suite of specifications based on DMTF’s CIM that helps IT managers: Deploy virtual computer systems, Discover/inventory virtual computer systems, Manage lifecycle of virtual computer systems, Create/modify/delete virtual resources and Monitor virtual systems for health and performance

Within the VMAN initiative, there are several specifications and profiles:

CIM related standards are also developed outside of the DMTF. Some examples are:

CIM and WBEM are supported by a large number of products and open source projects. A small list is provided here:

  • Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) - Implementation of CIM and WBEM in Microsoft Windows
  • SBLIM - Open source project providing an implementation of CIM and WBEM for Linux as well as other CIM and WBEM related components and tools
  • OpenPegasus - Open source project providing a CIM Object Manager written in C++ (the central infrastructure component for CIM and WBEM)
  • WBEM Services - Open source project providing a CIM Object Manager written in Java
  • OpenWBEM - Open source project providing another CIM Object Manager written in C++

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