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Common Information Model (computing)

The Common Information Model (CIM) is an open standard that defines how managed elements in an IT environment are represented as a common set of objects and relationships between them. The Distributed Management Task Force maintains the CIM to allow consistent management of these managed elements, independent of their manufacturer or provider.

Common Information Model
Year started1999
OrganizationDistributed Management Task Force
Related standardsWBEM and SMASH
DomainInformation model


One way to describe CIM is to say that it allows multiple parties to exchange management information about these managed elements. However, this falls short in expressing that CIM not only represents these managed elements and the management information, but also provides means to actively control and manage these elements. By using a common model of information, management software can be written once and work with many implementations of the common model without complex and costly conversion operations or loss of information.

The CIM standard is defined and published by the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF). A related standard is Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM, also defined by DMTF) which defines a particular implementation of CIM, including protocols for discovering and accessing such CIM implementations.

Schema and specificationsEdit

The CIM standard includes the CIM Infrastructure Specification and the CIM Schema:

  • CIM Infrastructure Specification
The CIM Infrastructure Specification defines the architecture and concepts of CIM, including a language by which the CIM Schema (including any extension schema) is defined, and a method for mapping CIM to other information models, such as SNMP. The CIM architecture is based upon UML, so it is object-oriented: The managed elements are represented as CIM classes and any relationships between them are represented as CIM associations. Inheritance allows specialization of common base elements into more specific derived elements.
  • CIM Schema
The CIM Schema is a conceptual schema which defines the specific set of objects and relationships between them that represent a common base for the managed elements in an IT environment. The CIM Schema covers most of today's elements in an IT environment, for example computer systems, operating systems, networks, middleware, services and storage. Classes can be, for example: CIM_ComputerSystem, CIM_OperatingSystem, CIM_Process, CIM_DataFile. The CIM Schema defines a common basis for representing these managed elements. Since most managed elements have product and vendor specific behavior, the CIM Schema is extensible in order to allow the producers of these elements to represent their specific features seamlessly together with the common base functionality defined in the CIM Schema.
Updates to the CIM Schema are published regularly.[1]

CIM is the basis for most of the other DMTF standards (e.g. WBEM or SMASH). It is also the basis for the SMI-S standard for storage management.


Infrastructure ImplementationsEdit

Many vendors provide implementations of CIM in various forms:

There is also a growing[quantify] number of tools market around CIM.[3]

Management Standards based on the CIM SchemaEdit

Standards organizations have defined management standards based on the CIM Schema:

Protocols SupportedEdit

A number of protocols are defined for messages transmitted between clients and servers. The message protocols are transmitted on top of HTTP. It has two message types:

  1. operational messages, which provoke a response from the receiver (RPC)
  2. export messages, which are indications/events.

CIM Operations over HTTP (CIM-XML)Edit

CIM-XML forms part of the WBEM protocol family, and is standardised by the DMTF.

CIM-XML comprises 3 specifications:

  1. CIM Operations over HTTP[4]
  2. Representation of CIM using XML[5]
  3. CIM DTD[6]


WS-MAN forms part of the WBEM protocol family, and is standardised by the DMTF.

WS-MAN comprises 3 specifications:

  1. WS-CIM Mapping Specification[7]
  2. WS-Management CIM Binding Specification[8]
  3. Web Services for Management (WS- Management) Specification[9]

CIM Operations over RESTful ServicesEdit

CIM-RS forms part of the WBEM protocol family, and is standardised by the DMTF.

CIM-RS comprises 3 specifications:

  1. CIM Operations Over RESTful Services[10]
  2. CIM-RS Protocol Specification[11]
  3. CIM-RS Payload Representation in JSON[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "CIM Schemas". Distributed Management Task Force, Inc. Archived from the original on 28 September 2018. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  2. ^ SBLIM, Sourceforge
  3. ^ "CIM/WBEM Tools (in the DMTF members area)".
  4. ^ CIM Operations over HTTP (PDF), DMTF
  5. ^ Representation of CIM using XML (PDF), DMTF
  7. ^ "WS-CIM Mapping Specification" (PDF).
  8. ^ "WS-Management CIM Binding Specification" (PDF).
  9. ^ "Web Services for Management (WS-Management) Specification" (PDF).
  10. ^ "CIM Operations Over RESTful Services" (PDF).
  11. ^ "CIM-RS Protocol Specification" (PDF).
  12. ^ "CIM-RS Payload Representation in JSON" (PDF).

External linksEdit

  • CIM, Standards, DMTF, including CIM Schema and CIM Infrastructure Specification.
  • CIM definition, Linktionary.
  • CIM definition, Networkcomputing, archived from the original on 2007-10-09, retrieved 2006-12-11 Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help).
  • CIM definition, Searchstorage, Techtarget.
  • CIM, Tutorials, WBEM Solutions.
  • SBLIM, Sourceforge.