FIRST NOTE: My associate, Mr. Pratul Dublish, recently spoke at Microsoft TechEd Developers conference in Barcelona, Spain. His full-room session provided a background on the SML Specification and highlighted Microsoft's implementations of model-based management in current and future products. You can read more from Pratul's blog: http://blogs.technet.com/pratul

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INTERCHANGE: A new specification draft document, from the SML Working Group, has been published at http://ServiceML.org. This spec is called the "SML Interchange Format" or SML-IF, and defines a single XML document that can be used to exchange SML models across SML validators or between other consumers of SML models (such as by configuration management software applications).

The SML-IF spec defines how an SML model (XML Schema documents and SML extensions; Schematron documents containing rules; the XML instance documents) can be packaged in a single SML-IF document -- without loss of model fidelity. 

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INTEROPERABILITY: To support model-based management early adopters, the SML Specification Working Group is hosting a SML Interop Workshop during January 16-17, in Austin, Texas, USA. Workshop attendees can conduct interoperabilty testing between their own SML [validator] implementation and other implementations.

Details on workshop attendance and feedback requirements are posted at the http://ServiceML.org website.

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CONFIGURATION MANAGEMENT: In a recent eWEEK article (http://www.eweek.com/article2/0%2c1895%2c2055284%2c00.asp), Microsoft announced participation in the multi-vendor Configuration Management Database Federation (CMDBF). Also announced is the private beta of the Microsoft Service Desk product. Both items are strongly connected to SML and SML-IF and the SML Interop Workshop:

  • The configuration management database (CMDB) in the Microsoft Service Desk product is an SML validator, with a persistent store for the models. SML allows the Service Desk CMDB to define the structure of configuration items, item relationships, and desired-state policies/constraints.
     
  • Use of SML-IF will enable interchange of data between two (or more) CMDBs, since SML-IF will enable the exchange of relationships, policies/constraints, and structure/data of configuration items.
     
  • All test cases for the January SML Interop Workshop are expressed as SML-IF documents.

- mark