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NMF SPIRIT Issue 3.0 Platform Blueprint

NMF SPIRIT Issue 3.0 Platform Blueprint
Copyright © 1995 Network Management Forum

Introduction to Part 4


Part 4, Distributed Systems Management is structured as follows:


Part 4, Distributed Systems Management defines a core set of specifications and profiles which can be used for the selection and procurement of managed and managing systems for general-purpose computing platforms. Predominately, these are Information System components, and these include standards widely accepted throughout the industry. Subsequent issues of this part are planned to complete the specifications for a complete platform. In principle, for general computing requirements, SPIRIT will follow the work of the X/Open XPG guidelines as they progress. For management aspects, OMNIPoint is used (see SPIRIT and OMNIPoint Specifications ). The scope of SPIRIT management is defined in the SPIRIT Scope of Management (see SPIRIT Scope of Management ).

Management enablement for these systems is accomplished by specifying the appropriate components to provision the managed system (or agent), the managing system (or manager) and the managed resource definitions to support the required management functions. This part provides guidelines for specification of both the agent and the manager.

The profiles in this part correspond to different types of systems and their operating environments:

This issue does not provide specifications for the entire SPIRIT Scope of Management (see SPIRIT Scope of Management ) because the standards are not yet mature enough for selection or the requirement was not considered a high priority item for the Service Providers.

Readers who are only interested in specifying Managed Systems (Agents) should read SPIRIT Distributed Systems Management Model and SPIRIT Agent .

Readers who are only interested in specifying Managing Systems (Managers) should read SPIRIT Distributed Systems Management Model and SPIRIT Manager .

SPIRIT and OMNIPoint Specifications

This section is informative.

Managing distributed computer systems is a complex and time-consuming activity, involving a wide variety of skills in order to integrate an overall view of operations. As computing systems architectures evolve from mainframe and terminal to more complex distributed systems, often involving mainframes, mid-tier servers and desktops, the problems of overall management rise almost exponentially. One step that procurers can take in order to contain the problem is to move to a common set of open management standards and interfaces, which they demand from all suppliers of computing systems that they procure. This helps to reduce the variety of different interfaces to be integrated, in relation to those that are likely, by using the individual supplier's wholly proprietary management systems.

However, it should be recognised that there are several flavours of open management standards that have been proposed for different environments and which are currently deployed to differing degrees. The objective of this part is to identify those management standards, their use and procurability in order that Service Providers can understand how to progress to more flexible, robust and manageable Information Technology to support their overall business objectives.

While focusing on the issues of Distributed Systems Management, this part also seeks to position that activity within an overall business context which is likely to be true not only to Service Providers, but to any commercial Information Technology department that sees its role as a provider of end-to-end managed services. Management is a multi-faceted activity, where it is difficult to place a boundary between one function and another. In order to automate as many of the activities as possible, it is necessary for information to be exchanged, or shared between management systems performing different functions.

Figure: Hierarchical Management Model Based on the TMN Concept

Consider Hierarchical Management Model Based on the TMN Concept which is based on a commonly used abstract model of management layers, developed by ITU-T, called the Telecommunications Management Network (TMN). This model, which has been widely adopted within telecommunications Service Providers, is a useful conceptual tool to visualise the scope and hierarchy of management needs as they might be applied in a business environment. It may also be worth considering within other large IT environments. The area that SPIRIT addresses is Distributed Systems Management (as circled), not the whole of this model. However, it does give context to how SPIRIT can be applied.

Distributed Systems Management implies that the computer platform itself (the agent role) needs to be instrumented so that it is manageable. Also, that management systems and related management applications must be available to manage those platforms (the manager role). However, most management systems are themselves built on computer platforms and thus can be managed using the SPIRIT specifications (managing the manager).

Given that SPIRIT now defines a manageable platform, other types of Management Systems, such as Network Managers and Service Managers, can utilise the manageable SPIRIT Platform for their specific needs, by adding further capabilities outside the scope of SPIRIT.

Figure: SPIRIT/OMNIPoint Interaction Relationship

Thus, SPIRIT systems management can be deployed within a TMN environment to provide part of the overall management capability necessary for delivering a managed telecommunications service (1) (in this sense it must be capable of delivering customer service-oriented management information to the Service Management system), while also being deployed to manage the computer systems upon which the (Service, Network, Element) management applications are running (2) (where such capabilities as applications backup and restoral, filestore management or systems performance tuning are required).

The SPIRIT Platform is specified to be applicable to a wide variety of other general-purpose computing applications such as billing, inventory and sales applications, as well as for management applications use. This part, however, is dedicated purely to ensuring that this general-purpose platform can be used in both a systems manager role, and can be managed effectively. It will also seek to identify how the SPIRIT activity relates to use in a wider management context within the Network Management Forum's other major programme, OMNIPoint, which focuses more on Service and Network Management in a Service Provider's environment.

The SPIRIT specifications are fully aligned with and overlap with the OMNIPoint specifications. The SPIRIT specifications are focused on the management of general-purpose distributed computing platforms. The OMNIPoint specifications are intended for management of service, networks and elements.

Figure: OMNIPoint and SPIRIT

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