Management Matters, December 2007

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Trusted Computing Group and DMTF

The Trusted Computing Group (TCG) and DMTF have been collaborating since 2006 to develop management specifications for trusted drives.

The TCG is a not-for-profit organization formed in 2003 to develop, define and promote open standards for hardware-enabled trusted computing and security technologies, including hardware building blocks and software interfaces, across multiple platforms, peripherals and devices. TCG specifications will enable more secure computing environments without compromising functional integrity, privacy or individual rights. The primary goal is to help users protect their information assets from compromise due to external software attack and physical theft.

As a result of the TCG’s alliance partnership with DMTF, TCG-capable Trusted Platforms can be managed in a manner consistent with the existing DMTF methods. TCG Work Groups can leverage the vast experience of DMTF and Desktop and Mobile Work Group (DMWG) members, ensuring the completeness of the resulting solution. In turn, DMTF and DMWG benefit from the comprehensive security knowledge of TCG members and the trusted computing vision of the TCG. For more information on TCG’s alliance partnership with DMTF, click here.

Improving Processes within DMTF

By Josh Cohen, DMTF Vice Chair

Insiders who follow the standards industry already know that it’s a significant challenge to align the development of interoperable standard specifications with the development of vendors’ products. At DMTF, we strive to address this issue to ensure that customers can have interoperable products from multiple vendors in a reasonable amount of time.

Recently DMTF established a new leadership position, the Vice Chairman of the Board, to tackle this challenge. Aside from standing in when the Chairman is unavailable, the Vice Chairman is responsible for coordinating the organization-wide effort to examine and improve the processes for standardization, industry participation and operation of DMTF.

To facilitate this work and bring together representatives from the DMTF membership in a democratic process, a new committee has been established: the "Process and Incubation Committee," which is headed by the Vice Chairman. With this focused effort and close collaboration with other groups within DMTF, we have achieved a number of significant objectives in this area.

In the past, the wider industry would see specifications from DMTF only after completion of the specification development cycle and their release as Preliminary Standards. With the new "Work In Progress Process," working groups can elect to publish early versions of their work to the public. This allows customers and other interested parties to get a sneak peek at the work going on. They may also review and prototype these early specifications, and then use the DMTF Feedback Process to provide valuable comments to DMTF. By receiving feedback early in the process, DMTF Working Groups can incorporate changes before Preliminary Standard publications, which results in the production of stable standards sooner. The combination of the Work In Progress and Feedback system provides a "beta program" for standards development. We encourage you to participate! You can find the Work In Progress specifications and instructions for submitting feedback here.

Another area of significant advancement is the "Standards Incubation Process." With increasing frequency, vendors have set up private groups to develop specifications for standards proposals. Often times, these are arranged to allow a group to explore a given technical approach to solving a problem privately, and to validate it before submitting it to the standards process. To provide another option to vendors seeking these kinds of mechanisms, DMTF has created the Standards Incubator Process to enable like-minded vendors to explore a given approach and maintain focus while also providing additional visibility to non-participating members. By having DMTF administer the process, a reasonable balance can be attained between allowing a small group to explore an approach without "too many cooks in the kitchen," while still providing a fair and open process that allow others to review, participate and provide feedback. The Incubator process is defined by DSP4008.

DMTF continues to develop new efforts to deliver interoperable standards in new areas of management. Efforts such as the CMDB Federation for Configuration Management and OVF in Virtualization continue to expand the scope and scale of the organization. In addition, the Process and Incubation Committee is hard at work evolving its processes to meet the needs of the organization as it continues to grow.

For more information, please feel free to contact DMTF or myself, Josh Cohen, Vice Chair, at I hope to see you at the Management Developer Conference in December!

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