On July 31, something remarkable happened in the IT world. Ten leaders in software and hardware industries came together to announce a shared specification, intended to define a new dynamic in systems and software configuration management: the dynamic of model-based management.
Announcing the Service Modeling Language (SML) Specification, these companies published a draft of the work-in-progress modeling language that can be used for building models of IT services and systems by multiple role-owners in the IT world. From the Software Architect to the IT Service Manager, from the independent Hardware Vendor to the Solutions Integrator: each IT role-owner needs a "common" modeling language, a means to describe and communicate not just the complete system, but the complete set of components for each system, application and service. Using these descriptions, IT role-owners can create and enhance configurations documents, enabling systems and services to be accurately built and maintained throughout the service life cycle - ultimately reducing the costs of configuration management. 
The work-in-progress SML Specification defines an XML-based language  that provides  a rich set of constructs for creating models of complex IT services and systems. These models typically include information about configuration, deployment, monitoring, policy, health, capacity planning, target operating range, service level agreements, and so on.  The SML Specification has been published to solicit feedback across the spectrum of software and hardware development, as well as IT deployment and operations management.
The companies forming the SML Working Group need your feedback on this specification - please visit http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/dsi/serviceml.mspx for more information on SML, and to obtain copies of the SML Specification documents.
In the next few SML Blog entries, I'll explore some insight on the definition and refinement of the SML Specification, considerations for common models and necessity of specific models, and the life cycle of services and systems in a model-based management environment. I'd value your thoughts and observations on SML as I aim to share with you some Microsoft SML insight.