With the growing reach of phones, computers, and other smart devices, the internet is becoming a basic necessity, and with network becoming so strong, users want every service to be fulfilled without any manual intervention. This new trend is known as distributed interactive system, wherein all the devices work without a user’s constant interaction to work on his desired services for which they interact with the other system. This type of computing is possible due to technological advancement of having computers and sensors of a size such that they can be integrated with any and every device.
With the computers and sensors moving to the background away from constant user interaction, they also need to be managed automatically without the user worrying about them.
To manage and monitor any computer or sensor, one needs technologies and standards which are common across devices for them to work and communicate in an interoperable manner for effective enterprise management. WBEM (web-based enterprise management) is one such set of management and internet standard technologies developed by DMTF’s (Distributed Management Task Force: a group of more than 10 enterprises) WBEM Infrastructure and Protocols Working Group to bring the management of distributed systems and sensors under one umbrella.
A set of standards has been developed by DMTF which are combined to make up the WBEM. It includes CIM (Common Information Model), CIM-XML (encoding Specification), and CIM operations over HTTP (transport mechanism).
WBEM is designed and developed by DMTF based on object-oriented principles, it uses namespaces containing classes (definition of management object) which include properties and methods. The management classes are inherited exposing its property to derived class for communication. This gives the WBEM the ability to draw a relationship between the management classes and objects of attributes to be managed. This approach also lets the user use the most derived class to access all the properties in the line of communication with just one object.
The above diagram explains the WBEM architecture wherein we have CIMOM (CIM object manager) as a core central component to route the object and event information between the components.
The CIMOM responds to the CIM operation like create, delete, and modify. The syntax and semantic is also checked for the message passed and security is provided.
Instrumentation agents on the devices called “providers” run on devices are used to obtain the information from device and pass it along to CIMOM. Per the above architecture, it can be inferred that management application is represented as WBEM client and the information is obtained by sending a request message to CIMOM and not by accessing the providers directly.
WBEM AND SNMP
Users often confuse WBEM and SNMP as their functionalities seem to be the same. But actually the case is a little different, and there are few differences which should be understood.
- Design: Whereas SNMP was initially designed to manage only a network and network element, WBEM was designed and developed to manage the entire distributed interactive system, be it servers, storage, or network, for enterprise management.
- Simplicity: SNMP was designed to monitor network devices which are simple in comparison to enterprise systems. Hence, it required lightweight management solutions where SNMP does a good job, while enterprise systems are complex and require more powerful management solutions where SNMP fails to fit in perfectly; for this, WBEM is designed.
- Management: Whereas SNMP uses variables for management, WBEM relies on object-oriented principles to expose and manage properties from derived class for communication. This makes management simpler and manageable for a large and complex system.
- Protocol: WNEB is multiple companies’ initiative with a foresight on how the world of management systems will shape while SNMP is a protocol which forces it to keep a check on backward compatibility, holding it back to move with the changing requirement and industry of system management.
WBEM is a set of management and internet standard technologies unlike its predecessor which are protocols. It helps WBEM to be more protractible and hence simplify and promote the development of non-aligned platforms, tools, changeable infrastructure and applications.
Thus, WBEM is helping in expanding the management and monitoring domain to industries like utility computing, web services, security, and storage.