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Lesson 3: Standards and Supported Platforms

SMS is built to operate in and manage a variety of network environments. To assist in your understanding of this sophisticated and multi-faceted tool, SMS includes extensive documentation. To enhance the interoperability of SMS, Microsoft worked with Cisco Systems, Inc., Compaq Corporation, Intel Corporation, and BMC Software, Inc. to create a successful industry standard for Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM). The WBEM initiative is at the heart of SMS data collection and presentation.


SMS includes both hard-copy documentation, the SMS Administrator's Guide, and web-based online help, which is accessed from the MMC. SMS online help includes both a context-sensitive guide, called Systems Management Server Administrator Help, and an online version of the SMS Administrator's Guide. The MMC includes its own distinct online help, which can be accessed when the SMS Administrator console is run in author mode. See Lesson 1 for details on enabling author mode in the SMS Administrator console. In all cases, Internet Explorer 4.01 (or later) must be installed to access the online help system.

Context-Sensitive Help

After selecting most objects in the SMS Administrator console, you can click the question mark on the tool bar or press F1 to display context-sensitive help. For example, if you click the Client Agents node in the SMS Administrator console and then press F1, the following document appears: Client Agents Configuration Overview. This context-sensitive help is extracted from Systems Management Server Administrator Help.

The SMS Administrator's Guide packaged with SMS 2.0 is an excellent resource for understanding the intricacies of SMS 2.0. You can access the online version of the SMS Administrator's Guide by selecting the top-level node in the SMS Administrator console, Systems Management Server, or you can access it from the Systems Management Server program group.

MMC Help

Since the MMC is the parent window to the SMS snap-in, help functions for the console are separate from any one snap-in. The MMC contains both an index and a table of contents for accessing two books. The first book, About the MMC, introduces the MMC, and the second book, Working With MMC Consoles, explains how to customize and save views of the MMC.

Microsoft on the Web and Web Help

All web-based help requires access to the Internet. When you select Microsoft on the Web from the Help menu in the MMC console, the browser goes to various locations at the Microsoft web site: the snap-in gallery, product news, frequently asked questions, send feedback, and the Microsoft home page. The snap-in gallery is a Microsoft site specifically designed to enhance the MMC with additional snap-ins. Frequently asked questions and other up-to-date information about the MMC can be found from the Frequently Asked Questions menu option. While there are other web locations listed in this help menu, the snap-in gallery and frequently asked questions are the two most relevant to the MMC.

From the SMS Administrator console, click the Web Help button on the toolbar to get a listing of Microsoft's URLs that will help you with SMS and allow you to provide SMS product feedback to Microsoft.


Introduction to Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM)

The goal of the WBEM initiative is to aggregate data collected from servers or providers running the most common network management protocols. This aggregation provides a single, unified interface from which to display and manage network data. Initial support is provided for data collection and management from devices using the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), Desktop Management Interface (DMI), and Common Management Interface Protocol (CMIP). The creation of the WBEM standard is independent of vendor, protocol, or management standards. Therefore, even proprietary data storage agents like Microsoft's domain database, the Windows registry and metabase, and Novell's NDS can be accessed from within the framework of the WBEM model.

Client and server have different meanings when used in the context of WBEM. Do not confuse a client with an SMS 2.0 client computer, which runs SMS client agents, or a server with an SMS server, which run SMS server services.

The Hypermedia Management Protocol (HMMP) is an important part of the WBEM initiative. Unlike other management protocols—for example, SNMP, which is part of the TCP/IP protocol suite, or CMIP, which is part of the OSI protocol suite—HMMP is independent of the transport protocol on which it runs.

Network devices are represented by objects using the Common Information Model (CIM) and are managed using HMMP. CIM provides a formal method of representing data in the WBEM model. The components that make up a CIM object are represented in a text file that is formatted using the Management Object Format (MOF). MOF syntax is designed by and is under the control of the Desktop Management Task Force (DMTF).

The goal of HMMP is to provide a common:

In WBEM, clients manage data collected by HMMP and servers are the data providers. A simple server may provide a small piece of information about itself, while a more complex server may provide significant quantities of data about itself and even proxy data from other servers on the network. A server that acts as a proxy is called a HyperMedia Object Manager (HMOM). A simple server that does not proxy data is simply called a provider.

To learn more about the WBEM initiative, view the draft documents found in \Chapt01\Articles\Wbem on the SMS Training Supplemental CD-ROM. Also, visit http://www.dmtf.org to learn about the work completed by the DMTF CIM subcommittee.


SMS acts as a proxy (the HMOM) for WBEM-based servers on the network. Microsoft's implementation of this proxy is called the Common Information Model Object Manager (CIMOM). CIMOM, also called the CIM Object Manager, collects data from servers, such as the SMS Hardware Inventory Client Agent, and stores this data, via the SMS Provider, in the site system serving the site database role. The SMS client agents and other WBEM-compliant servers are also called providers. The format of the object data in the SMS database complies to the MOF as specified by the DMTF and is stored in the CIMOM repository, also called the WBEM namespace. The WBEM namespace contains object class data while the site database stores object instance data. Depending on the WBEM client request, data can be extracted from the SMS database or it can be extracted by CIMOM from the WBEM server. The SMS Provider is the intermediary between the data in the site database and CIMOM. Figure 1-11 shows how SMS uses the WBEM model and the role that the site database, WBEM client applications, and SMS client agents serve in the context of the WBEM model.

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Figure 1-11. The WBEM architecture in SMS.

The SMS Toolkit and the WBEM SDK

The WBEM initiative is designed to collect data from any network source. Developers use the WBEM SDK to create WBEM providers. The WBEM SDK also writes clients to access data collected from providers. MMC running the SMS Administrator console snap-in is the WBEM-compliant interface used to access and manipulate CIM objects in SMS.

The SMS 2.0 Toolkit provided by Microsoft includes the WBEM SDK, documentation on working with WBEM and SMS, sample WBEM client applications, CIMOM system components, a Managed Object File (MOF) compiler, provider development tools, and sample source code.