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Systems Management: Common Management Facilities (XCMF)
Copyright © 1997 The Open Group



The Systems Management Reference Model (see reference XRM) consists of 3 basic components:

Management Facilities are a category of services which have been specialized for XSM distributed systems management. This specification defines a set of management facilities that supplement the Object Management Group's (OMG) Object Model so that it supports the System Management Reference Model. The Systems Management Reference Model (see reference XRM) provides a complete description of the mapping to the OMG Object Model.

Relationship to the OMG Object Model

The OMG has developed a conceptual model, known as the core object model, and a reference architecture upon which applications can be constructed (see references OMAG and OMGOM). The OMG OMA defines the composition of objects and their interfaces.

A fundamental architecture of the OMA is the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (see reference CORBA) that specifies a framework for transparent communication between application objects. The Object Request Broker (ORB), a key component of this architecture, provides the mechanisms for issuing requests to objects and returning responses.

In addition to CORBA, the OMG has also published a set of Object Services that are common to a wide range of application domains. The first set of these services (see reference COS Volume 1) includes:

Life Cycle services define interfaces for creating, deleting, moving, and copying objects. Naming Services specify interfaces for binding and resolving names. The Event Services provides mechanisms for decoupled communication between objects, supporting both a push and a pull model of communication.

In addition to these services, additional activity is underway in the OMG to adopt specifications for Concurrency Services, Externalization Services, Persistent Storage Services, Relationship Services, Transaction Services, Time Services, and Security Services. Work is also coming to completion on a Licensing Service, a Properties Service, and a Query Service.

It is the implementation of the OMG architectures and Object Services that constitute an OMG environment. This environment provides much of the necessary infrastructure for supporting distributed system management.

Scope of this Specification

This specification presents a set of management services that integrate with the OMG environment and provide extended services specifically for the distributed systems management. These services, in conjunction with the OMG environment, are fundamental to provide a framework for developing distributed systems management applications.

The management facilities specified assumes an OMG CORBA 1.2-compliant ORB and a compliant implementation of the Common Object Services (see reference COS Volume 1). This implies the management facilities described in this specification may use types and interfaces defined in OMG standard header files (for example, <orb.idl>).

The components addressed in this specification are those focused on the management of policy-driven objects including the mechanisms and facilities that enable the establishment and enforcement of policy on these objects. The Reference Model is used in Systems Management Framework Components . to illustrate the focus of this specification. The Object Request Broker and Object Services discussed in this specification are drawn from the OMG environment.

Figure: Systems Management Framework Components

The systems management application domain is a vertical application market with specialized requirements. The work OMG is performing at the ORB and Object Services level is common across many, if not most, application spaces. Systems management requirements exist today and a considerable industry is beginning to build applications in this area. Thus, there is a need to standardize interfaces for systems management. This specification does not supersede the OMG Object Services. Rather, it complements the OMG Object Services by defining interfaces that are fundamental for developing distributed system administration applications.

This specification also fully backs application portability and internationalization objectives. In areas where relevant standards have been identified (see referenced documents), these standards are used. Examples are the Portability Guide, Issues 3 and 4 (see references to XPG documents, and to reference Internationalization Guide). Adhering to these specifications is critical to all implementations and the interfaces for a system administration framework must enable the use and accommodation of these specifications.

Components Not Addressed

This section outlines a set of application development issues that are not addressed in this specification, but that must be addressed during the development of system administration applications.


Providing a robust and flexible security service is crucial for the development of distributed management applications. Providing such a service in a heterogeneous and distributed environment is a very complex undertaking. The OMG is currently developing a Security service for the CORBA environment. The Open Group is tracking its progress closely and hopes to build upon this service. Because of the complexity of defining the service and the ongoing working in the OMG, a Security service is beyond the scope of this Specification.

Graphical User Interface/Desktop

There are other standards groups and industry consortia working to define a common desktop environment, including the graphical user interface (GUI) technology. Proposing a particular approach to this effort through a parallel process is inappropriate. While the GUI and desktop is critical to the success of individual administration applications, it is not fundamental for the development of distributed management applications.

Application Specific Resource Interfaces

This specification details a set of interfaces for management facilities that enables the development of distributed management applications. These applications will include policy-driven objects that encapsulate managed resources. The definition of the interfaces to the objects to encapsulate managed resources is outside the scope of this specification.

Interoperability Issues

Interoperability is key to building distributed systems management applications. Distributed systems management applications using the OMG environment requires interoperability at two distinct levels:

Future Directions

The facilities specified in this specification provide only a subset of all the facilities necessary to build portable and interoperable management applications. As CORBA based management frameworks become more prevalent in the industry, more management facilities will be developed and deployed. The developers of this Specification recognize this fact and hence expect to identify and standardize additional management facilities in future.

Some number of facilities and language bindings were identified as important during the development of this Specification, but because of resource limitations are not included in this Specification. Some of the facilities identified were such things as process management, scheduling, event management, and a Perl language binding. These facilities are excellent candidates for inclusion in a future volume of management facilities. However, this vision should in no way be interpreted as limiting the breadth of future submissions in this area.

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