Search /
Advanced search  |  Help  |  Site map
Click for Layer 8! No, really, click NOW!
Networking for Small Business
Kill switches coming to iPhone, Android, Windows devices in 2015
Still deploying 11n Wi-Fi?  You might want to think again
9 Things You Need to Know Before You Store Data in the Cloud
Can Heartbleed be used in DDoS attacks?
Linksys WRT1900AC Wi-Fi router: Faster than anything we've tested
Heartbleed bug is irritating McAfee, Symantec, Kaspersky Lab
10 Hot Hadoop Startups to Watch
Server makers rushing out Heartbleed patches
Fortinet, McAfee, Trend Micro, Bitdefender battle in socially-engineered malware prevention test
Net neutrality ruling complicates US transition to IP networks
6 Social Media Mistakes That Will Kill Your Career
Canonical's new Ubuntu focuses on the long haul
4 Qualities to Look for in a Data Scientist
Big bucks going to universities to solve pressing cybersecurity issues
Mozilla appoints former marketing head to interim CEO
Box patches Heartbleed flaw in its cloud storage systems
Obama administration backs disclosing software vulnerabilities in most cases
6 Amazing Advances in Cloud Technology
Collaboration 2.0: Old meets new
Data breaches nail more US Internet users, regulation support rises
With a Wi-Fi cloud service, Ruckus aims to help hotspot owners make money
How to get Windows Phone 8.1 today
Secure browsers offer alternatives to Chrome, IE and Firefox
10 Big Data startups to watch

Web prompted into management position

Today's breaking news
Send to a friendFeedback

     San Francisco
     Here we go again.
     Five leading software and hardware vendors last week proposed a new 
standards-based approach for network management - this time through a Web 
     The vendors - Cisco Systems, Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., Intel Corp., 
Microsoft Corp. and BMC Software, Inc. - say this latest net management 
standards effort will result in a new breed of Web-based tools that will 
reduce the complexity that will reduce the complexity and cost of 
enterprise management. The Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) group has 
the backing of about 70 other companies.
     WBEM 'solves the integration problem and unleashes the creative 
ability to do management applications,' said Ronnie Ward, vice president 
of enterprise computing at Compaq. It takes the integration impetus off 
management platforms, he said.
     But history is not on the side of such ambitious management standards 
initiatives, as anyone familiar with the Open Software Foundation, Inc.'s 
(OSF) Distributed Management Environment or the Management Integration 
Consortium knows. And this effort is wrought with some formidable 
challenges, as well, including the following:
     It lacks the blessing of Sun Microsystems, Inc., creator of the Java 
programming language, which is increasingly being used for Internet and 
Web-based management applets.
     Some of the effort's backers do not appear to have their hearts 
entirely in it.
     As with other 'Net-related efforts, political and competitive 
undercurrents are swirling.
     It is big on concept and small on content; specifications still have 
to be defined and activities have to be coordinated among more than 70 
vendors and at least two standards groups.
     'Who is going to do the work?' asked Joe Clabby, an analyst with 
Aberdeen Group, Inc. in Boston. 'It's a nice architectural layout. But as 
you put together an architecture, you want to figure out who is going to 
take the action items to make it happen, and I couldn't find that.'
     The WBEM concept 
     The WBEM concept defines three areas for standardization. One is a 
HyperMedia Management Schema (HMMS), which is an extensible data model for 
representing managed objects. Another is the HyperMedia Management Protocol 
(HMMP), an HTTP-based protocol for communicating between management 
services, applications and agents.
     The third piece is the HyperMedia Object Manager (HMOM), a C++ object 
broker that will pull together management data on behalf of management 
applications. HMOM is based on Microsoft's OLE technology.
     HMMS will be defined, maintained and updated by the Desktop Management 
Task Force (DMTF). HMMP is being debated within the Internet Engineering 
Task Force, and a reference implementation of HMOM will be placed in the 
public domain.
     Vendors expect WBEM-compliant products to hit the market next year.
     Though the WBEM vendors said their plan embraces existing standards 
such as Simple Network Management Protocol and the Desktop Management 
Interface, interoperability with de-vices supporting these standards is not 
     'We have to get the details right,' said Jeffrey Case, president of 
SNMP Research, Inc. in Knoxville, Tenn., one of the 70 companies supporting 
WBEM, and coauthor of the SNMP protocol. 'It's difficult for any five 
companies this big to get anything done.' 
     This may be why users are cautious and even skeptical about WBEM.
     'I give the marketing boys an 'A' for this,' said Frank Belland, 
senior systems architect at Lockheed Martin in Orlando, Fla. 'How real is 
the support? Why don't we go off and do another OSF DME?'
     'I'm certainly not going to run and buy their first product,' said 
Sean Blake, systems analyst for Eli Lilly Co. in Indianapolis. 'There 
always seems to be two different standards, and none ever gets flushed out, 
so the market decides what to buy.'
     No one can blame Sun if WBEM doesnt fly or credit the company if it 
does. Sun is keeping a safe distance from the effort while it determines 
WBEM's effect on Java.
     Differences between Java and WBEM exist in the user interface and in 
implementation, said Brian Biles, director of Solstice product marketing 
for SunSoft, Inc.
     The WBEM browser interface is based on HTML; the Java user interface 
is not. Also, WBEM im-plementations could hit interoperability snags if 
deployed across different object models, Biles said. This is not the case 
with Java, he claimed.
     'We think [Java's] actually a better choice for doing something as 
broadly heterogeneous as management,' Biles said.
      Microsoft, however, believes Sun will change its tune.
     'Sun has its own agenda, and eventually they'll come around because 
this is very good,' said Bob Krueger, general manager for systems 
management products at Microsoft.
      But even some vendors that back WBEM are doing so cautiously. IBM's 
Tivoli Systems, Inc. subsidiary, for example, will back HMMS insofar as it 
progresses through the DMTF or becomes a de facto standard. HMMP, though, 
is another matter.
     'We're going to be in a more wait-and-see attitude on that one,' 
said Chris Grafft, senior vice president of business development at Tivoli. 
'We don't exactly understand the path that will take to becoming something 
that would add value to existing protocols.' 
     Though the technical and installed-base challenges facing WBEM are 
many, the political and competitive challenges that accompany any standards 
effort may be the most daunting. Some of these companies just flat out do 
not like each other.

NWFusion offers more than 40 FREE technology-specific email newsletters in key network technology areas such as NSM, VPNs, Convergence, Security and more.
Click here to sign up!
New Event - WANs: Optimizing Your Network Now.
Hear from the experts about the innovations that are already starting to shake up the WAN world. Free Network World Technology Tour and Expo in Dallas, San Francisco, Washington DC, and New York.
Attend FREE
Your FREE Network World subscription will also include breaking news and information on wireless, storage, infrastructure, carriers and SPs, enterprise applications, videoconferencing, plus product reviews, technology insiders, management surveys and technology updates - GET IT NOW.