New DMTF Server Management Standard Supports JSON, REST APIs

Group says Redfish 1.0 is a turning point for data center management

In what has the potential to become a boon for IT infrastructure management, the Distributed Management Task Force this week released a standard for server management based on the JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) file format and a simple REST API. The task force promises the standard will improve performance, functionality, scalability, and security in data center and systems management.

“Everything is now starting to converge around REST APIs and JSON,” DMTF president Jeff Hilland said. “We think this is going to be a turning point in IT management.”

Created by the Scalable Platforms Management Group within the DMTF, the development of the server management standard, called Redfish 1.0, was led by Broadcom, Dell, Emerson, HP, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, Supermicro, and VMware with additional support coming from AMI, Oracle, Fujitsu, Huawei, Mellanox and Seagate.

Intended to replace the Intelligent Platform Management Interface effort that wound up being extended in a proprietary way by every vendor that adopted it, Hilland said, Redfish 1.0 is designed to not only make it clearer how a vendor has implemented it, but also provide a file format through which data stored in a spreadsheet can easily uploaded into a system management application that supports JSON and REST APIs.

In addition, he noted, Microsoft has embraced REST APIs and JSON within its PowerShell scripting tools that are widely used within IT organizations running Windows.

Hilland says the actual code used to create Redfish 1.0 is actually a subset of the code that was used to create the OData standard, an implementation of REST APIs that providers of application integration software are starting to adopt as standard mechanism for sharing data.

In terms of using REST APIs for systems management, Hilland said, Redfish 1.0 only represents the “tip of the iceberg.” The DMTF will be making additional use of REST APIs to make firmware across a wide variety of types of IT infrastructure available to providers of systems management applications.

The end result should not only eliminate the need for each provider of systems management software to develop agents for every class of IT infrastructure, the overall weight of those applications should be substantially less.

Hilland noted that given the widespread support for REST APIs that already exists, the DMTF views Redfish 1.0 as an approach to systems management that most vendors will readily support. In the short term, however, the DMTF is focusing on traditional servers in order to avoid having to “boil the ocean” all at once.

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