Monday, March 26, 2007

W3C Service Modeling Language Standard

A consortium of IT companies has proposed web standards for describing: "services and systems, including their structure, constraints, policies, and best practices". The proposed standards were released by the World Wide Web Consortium on 21 March 2007: Service Modeling Language (SML) and SML Interchange Format (SML-IF).

After controversy with the ownership of previous standards, the companies, including CA, Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems, have offered the technology royalty free.

The standards are very abstract and might be used to describe any form of service, such as getting your car washed. But clearly the authors intended them for IT services. It will be interesting to see if the complexities of such services can be reduced to an XML format which is processable by machines and understandable by people.

The Service Modeling Language uses XML based standards, including Schema:
The Service Modeling Language (SML) 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. Models provide value in several important ways. ...

A model in SML is realized as a set of interrelated XML documents. The XML documents contain information about the parts of an IT service, as well as the constraints that each part must satisfy for the IT service to function properly.
The SML Interchange Format defines how to transmit the models, using simple web hypertext links, Web Services, or similar:
The purpose of SML-IF is to package the set of documents representing an SML model to be interchanged into a single XML document in a standard way. The set of documents to be interchanged is called the SML-IF document ...
Perhaps the Service Modeling Language in IBM's new Australian
Service-Oriented Architecture center:
IBM has selected Australia for the establishment of an Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) Centre. ...

Centres will also be established in France, China, India, Japan, Brazil, Beijing, Central Europe and Dubai.

The Australian centre is expected to open in June 2007, however, an IBM spokesperson said exact details such as cost and location were yet to be finalized. ...

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