Elucidating the Theory of WBEM

In any organization, one of the crucial operations is to regularize and set standards for distributed computing. Considering the variety and need for this, a set of systems-management technologies was developed. This initiative was sponsored initially in 1996 by tech giants like BMC Software, Compaq, Cisco Systems, Intel and Microsoft. It was called Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM). Later, it was widely adopted. Afterwards, Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF), took charge of this work. It was handed over to them so that these standards would remain vendor-neutral.
Later a concise approach to a network management standard was developed. Known as Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), it is still in use. WBEM is not necessarily dependant on any particular UI. Its systems-management approaches include from remote shells to SNMP architectures.
Common Information Model (CIM): Bridge for management info.
The DMTF then developed a core set of standards for WBEM, including a data model, the CIM standard; an encoding specification. It operates over HTTP. The CIM specification is the language, methodology and guideline for describing this data. CIM is a schema for modeling the objects.
The CIM schema can be divided into three sections:

  1.  Core model: It captures notions applicable to all areas of management.
  2. Common model: An information model that captures notions that are common for a specific type of technology.
  3. Extension model: For common models, it represents the technology-specific extensions.

The modus operandi of WBEM
The main components consist of the end user, the model and hardware and software of the device. Depending on the application, the end user will carry out command-line interface (CLI), Browser User Interface (BUI), or graphical user interface (GUI). Naturally, semi-technical users prefer GUI. Hence, it is the most popular.
Now, through a set of application programming interfaces (APIs), the CLI, BUI or GUI will interface with a WBEM client. An XML message containing this request will be generated. This process is preceded by finding the WBEM server for this particular device.
After finding the WBEM server, the client uses the HTTP (or HTTPS) protocol to pass the request. This way, the request will be encoded in CIM-XML, to the WBEM server. This will allow the WBEM server to understand the incoming request.
At the point of such transaction, the model uses the CIM standard. DMTF has published many models interacting with hardware and software for commonly managed devices and services like storage servers, IP routers, desktop computers, etc.
.. And there are Providers
Usually, WBEM server determines from the model the software and hardware it needs to interact with. This interaction is carried out with programs called as Providers. Providers can be written with knowledge and basic understanding of GUI, BUI, or CLI. Operators are responsible for writing these providers. The necessary information for WBEM service like type of the device, memory configuration, actions performed on a particular device is provided by Providers.
Scope of WBEM
There are various features for users and system managers in WBEM, like, Desktop Management, Network management, Storage Management, Systems Management, etc.
The application of these features varies according to the model. In the WBEM architecture, the management information is described by the CIM.
WBEM Implementers: Tech giants
IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Red hat, Ubuntu have developed and contributed in development of WBEM models. These organizations have implemented WBEM in their operating systems, storage and systems management tools as well as desktop management tools. E.g. Apple Inc. has implemented this in the Apple Remote Desktop management tool. 77 year old Hewlett-Packard has used this in HP-UX operating system. Whereas E-Business Suite provider Oracle has implemented this in their Solaris operating environment.
There are some open source WBEM implementations as well, like Pegasus, WBEM Services and OpenWBEM. Currently, Pegasus and WBEM Services have some of the most active and biggest developer groups.
Ubiquitous Computing: Age coming before long
Ubiquitous is a Latin word. In English, it means ‘present, appearing, or found everywhere.’ Ubiquitous computing means a user can connect to the network and be serviced regardless of time or location. Regardless of device, location or format, user will be connected when ubiquitous computing occurs. In other terms, this is also known as ‘Things that think’.
To compose a ubiquitous network, a machine has to be connected in the network. The sensors, processors will be connected in the network and then connected to the things and processes in daily routine of the user. With this, tremendous amount of information will be generated. This information will be user centric and will enable users in making real time decisions.
The quality of service generated with this will be never before accurate and personalized. It will consist of location based service, personalized automated medical service, merchandise management service and in many other possibilities, service sector is going to emerge.
Experts in software engineering and computer science are facing challenges like systems design, in systems modeling, and in UI design. The major challenge will be establishing and defining human-computer interaction models. The CLI will initially play a key role, but later it will be certainly menu-driven or GUI-based.
Platform independence achieved for distributed computing
WBEM provides one interface to multiple platforms. This is possible because it is not dependent on the languages, execution environments, and graphical user interfaces (GUIs). Because these platforms use host-management applications. WBEM provides a consistent view of managed environments. And this is done without the compulsive usage of one management framework, protocol, or platform.
With the help of Web-Based Enterprise Management, the industry is now able to deliver integrated set of standard-based management tools. Its purpose is establishing industry standards for varied and distributed computing.

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