Innovating through Standards

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Having been involved in industry standards for over a decade, I have seen a new model emerge: innovation through standardization. New breakthroughs like Web services, service-oriented architectures, and grid computing have all been developed within the broader community of standards-setting organizations and consortia. What’s driving this? The critical need for interoperable distributed solutions in the enterprise. The rational response for companies like Dell? Develop and innovate collaboratively.

A case in point is the July announcement of the Service Modeling Language (SML), which defines a standard XML-based language describing IT resources and services so that they can communicate and interoperate in multi-vendor environments. (Download the draft spec in PDF here.)

What’s notable about SML is that it’s the result of a collaborative effort between BEA, BMC, Dell, EMC, Cisco, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and Sun. These companies jointly announced publication of the draft standard specification—broad support like this makes its success more likely. Going forward, with a common language in place, companies like Dell can focus on building innovative solutions that work in multi-vendor environments.

It’s a logical progression. The collaborative industry effort results in SML; and SML is a common language on which vendors can innovate. Developments like SML benefit both customers and the industry. We’re working with the industry on other systems management standards too: Web services standards like ws-management and other modeling initiatives such as the common diagnostic model. I’ll blog about these topics and more in the coming weeks.

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