OASIS expands scope of Web services management work

A standards body working on management specifications for Web services admitted on Monday that its original work did not go far enough, so it is regrouping and redefining its goals.

The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) is mothballing its Management Protocol Technical Committee, which began last summer to devise a protocol for managing Web services, and has formed the Web Services Distributed Management (WSDM) Technical Committee.

The new committee will not only continue to develop a specification that describes how to implement management using Web services, but will add to that work by defining how to manage Web services themselves.

The OASIS group will incorporate management work being done in the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Services Architecture Working Group, the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF), and the Global Grid Forum.

“If we don’t define management clearly and quickly, we’ll have a piecemeal, proprietary implementation of management for Web services,” says Winston Bumpus, co-chair of the WSDM technical committee and director of standards for Novell. “In a large, distributed environment, if each service is managed differently [the environment] will be difficult to deploy. It became clear to us in the original charter of the management protocol group that we needed to do more.”

Management and security are two high-profile issues inhibiting the nirvana of Web services, which promise to integrate systems across corporate boundaries. Today, many network executives are waiting for those standards to be created and mature before considering the use of Web services outside of their networks or pilot programs.

OASIS also is working on security specification for Web services, and that work will dovetail with the management efforts, says Bumpus.

The new technical committee will define a specification and management model based on the Common Information Model from the Distributed Management Task Force, says Bumpus.

The OASIS group also will use input from the W3C’s Management Task Force and its Web Services Management Architecture, which attempts to define what components in a Web services architecture must be managed and what type of management information each component must provide.

Bumpus said the OASIS group would look at work in the Global Grid Forum that is examining how distributed computing environments need to be managed, in part by extending the Web Services Description Language (WSDL) specification. WSDL defines the characteristics of a Web service and what it can do.

Cooperation between the standards bodies is key, experts say, but the final specification will have to overcome the historical Achilles’ heel of management standards – adoption.

SNMP is the primary management protocol in use today, and it was developed in 1987.

Initial members of the OASIS Web Services Distributed Management Technical Committee include Actional, BMC Software, Computer Associates, Confluent Software, HP, Hitachi, IBM, Novell, OpenNetwork, SeeBeyond, Sun, Waveset, and webMethods.

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