The long-gestating Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) initiative established by more than 50 vendors, including BMC Software Inc, Cisco Systems Inc, Compaq Computer Corp, Intel Corp and Microsoft Corp, to define a standard for web-based systems, desktop and network management back in July last year has put its Professional Developers Kit (PDK) into beta. The Initiative’s aim is to enable what it defines as enterprise management solutions without vendor -specific or multi-protocol dependencies at the management application level. The WBEM architecture defines the structures and conventions necessary to access information about managed objects, centralizes information for cross client analysis and supports location transparent access to managed objects for both analysis and manipulation. Its also compatible with existing management protocols, including SNMP, DMI and CMIP. One of the key components of the initiative is the HyperMedia Management Protocol, (HMMP) a protocol for accessing management information, enabling management solutions to be platform independent and physically distributed across the enterprise. Despite official denials to the contrary, one insider concedes it might well be used to replace current HTTP and SNMP protocols which have a tendency to saturate the web with management data that contains no corrective actions. The object-oriented HMMP schema, still currently being compiled by the Desktop Management Taskforce Force (DMTF), offers a single data description mechanism for enterprise data sources. Once completed the Initiative hopes to submit the HMMP Internet Draft to an IETF Working Group, but there’s no timeframe for the submission. Central to the initiative is a data representation schema for managed objects called the Common Information Model (CIM). Schema components are accessed and manipulated using HMMP. HMMP is used to exchange messages that convey management information between HMMP entities. These messages are then used to interrogate or manipulate the management schema held by an HMMP entity. HMMP provides management services across platform boundaries by defining a common network access model, a common schema, and a common security model. The schema also enables associations to be built between objects described by the model, regardless of the original data source. A spokesperson for one of the companies involved in the initiative conceded that the technology is loosely based on – Microsoft’s – DCOM distributed Object Linking & Embedding technology but saw no problem in persuading the rest of the industry to adopt the effort. Unified and remote access to the data model is also provided by HMMP, which enables aggregated data to be queried across the network and shared between top-level applications. Data can be gathered at local or site level from SNMP, CMIP, DMI, QOS monitors and published beyond the site via HMMP to enterprise managers. This combination enables management solutions at the administrative level to follow the trail of a fault or performance problem from it’s reported location (a user’s application error) to the actual problem (a faulty repeater card, for example) by walking the associations within the schema and the WBEM aggregation points in the network. PDK system components include the Hypermedia Object Manager (HMOM), supporting HMOM Providers including SNMP (for Windows NT), a Managed Object File (MOF) compiler, client application and provider development tools, and sample source code and applications.