2021 Year-in-Review

From the desk of DMTF President Jeff Hilland

Each December, we take the opportunity to pause and reflect on the last twelve months. 2021 continued to be a year full of ups and downs but as it comes to an end, I’m pleased to highlight the significant accomplishments the organization has achieved. 
Technical Milestones
Technical work on the Redfish® standard takes place in the Redfish Forum. The Forum has made significant progress this year, including:

  • Kicking off 2021, Redfish Release 2020.4 was released in January. This release included 7 new schemas, 29 schema updates and additional developer resources. The release also incorporated the migration to new resource definitions to improve the representation of Power and Thermal characteristics through the additions of PowerSubsystem, ThermalSubsystem, Fan, PowerSupply, PowerSupplyMetrics as well as EnvironmentMetrics for device-level reporting of environmental data. Additional AccountTypes were included thus expanding functionality of AccountTypes in ManagerAccount allowing management of accounts for non-Redfish services or other functions. The Redfish Forum also hosted a webinar providing an in-depth look at the 2020.4 specification followed by a live QA session. 
  • Redfish version 2021.1 was released in May. This release extended the composability model to add multi-client support. In addition, the release included 6 new schemas, 37 schema updates and additional developer resources. The 2021.1 webinar provided additional information about the release and allowed attendees to ask questions during the QA session.
  • In June, Redfish created a new educational white paper, “Redfish Firmware Update White Paper” designed to help implementers and clients understand the Redfish Firmware Update data model and how it is used to update firmware images on a system.
  • Continuing its aggressive development of Redfish, DMTF released 2021.2 with 8 new schemas and 42 schema updates in September. This release featured several new additions to the support modeling use cases for SmartNICs including the AllowDenyCollection, which was added to NetworkDeviceFunction to show firewalling configurations; the ProcessorCollection was added to NetworkAdapter to show offload processors dedicated to a SmartNIC; and a DPU Value was added to SystemType in ComputerSystem to showcase a system-view of an SoC on a SmartNIC.  Additionally, support for OAuth 2.0 Authorization Framework was added, allowing authorization to be performed by an external entity – no usernames or passwords need to be provided by the client.  Key provisioning via Redfish was also added to support NVMe-oF boot use cases where UEFI and the OS need key information to connect to remote NVMe-oF targets. For additional information regarding the Redfish 2021.2 release, you can view the 2021.2 webinar and QA here. 
  • In November, the Forum released Redfish 2021.3. It is available for public download here. The release includes 3 new schemas, 20 schema updates and additional developer resources. In addition, this release includes support for Licenses and License Management allowing for inventory and installation of licenses, as obtained by the end user, or otherwise included in a product implementation. The release supports Service-level, Device-centric or Capacity-limited license types to allow for a variety of licensing models. This support allows for either binary (file-based) or text-based licenses in a unified fashion to provide a single, interoperable method for client software to implement. The 2021.3 release also includes support for electrical buses and related products added to the PowerDistribution schema with added properties to Outlet, Circuit, Chassis, and PowerSupply to show electrical connectivity between devices. These latest enhancements are driven by the growth of Redfish and interoperability feedback received from implementers.
  • Redfish version 2021.4 is slated to be released early next year. Stay tuned! 

PMCI Working Group Standards
The Platform Management Communications Infrastructure (PMCI) Working Group defines standards to address “inside the box” communication interfaces between the components of the platform management subsystem. Among the notable technical milestones in 2021:

  • PMCI kicked off 2021 with the release of its Secured Messages using SPDM Specification (DSP0277) as well as the Secured Messages using SPDM over MCTP Binding Specification (DSP0276) as DMTF standards. These specifications enable the same data encryption mechanism whether it is for data in flight or management of traffic and incorporates crucial input from the organization’s Alliance Partners thus benefiting the industry at large.
  • In August, PMCI announced that its Platform Level Data Model (PLDM) specifications have garnered industry-wide support and are actively helping to solve end-user concerns in a common, standardized way. By using solutions based on PMCI standards, customers can anticipate reduced downtime, a secure and reliable platform, lower total cost of ownership, and interoperability at both the system and component levels. These widely used standards include PLDM for Firmware Update and PLDM for Redfish® Device Enablement (RDE). 
  • In September, the PMCI Security Task Force announced the release of a work in progress for the upcoming Security Protocol and Data Model (SPDM) Specification version 1.2. Designed to be referenced by other standards organizations and developers, DMTF invited both public comment and comments from our alliance partners on the SPDM WIP specification. 
  • In November, PMCI announced the publication of an overview presentation, which  provided detailed requirements regarding its forthcoming update to the Management Component Transport Protocol (MCTP) specifications. This presentation, available for download,  is a work in progress that lists a set of planned features and describes the issues leading to the requirements contained in the document. Designed to be referenced by other standards organizations and developers, DMTF invites public comment on the MCTP specifications and activities before they are finalized. Feedback may be submitted on our website at https://www.dmtf.org/standards/feedback/.
  • PMCI Tech Note is currently in the works! Be on the lookout for this in the new year. 

System Management BIOS (SMBIOS) is one of the most widely used IT standards in the world, simplifying the management of more than two billion client and server systems since its release in 1995.

  • In October, the SMBIOS Working Group released Version 3.5 of the SMBIOS Reference Specification.  Version 3.5 of SMBIOS adds support or updates for current technologies, including: a new Firmware Inventory Information structure, allowing SMBIOS to report device firmware information for use by Redfish or other agents; reporting manufacturing mode status; reporting manufacturing mode status; and updates to pointing device interfaces, onboard device types, and processor sockets.

Common Information Model (CIM)

  • The CIM Forum anticipates the release of CIM 2.55 in the first quarter of 2022. 

Desktop and mobile Architecture for System Hardware (DASH)

  • Make sure to check back in early next year for the latest release of the DASH Conformance Test Suite.

Our Alliance Partner program continues to benefit the industry overall. 

  • DMTF Alliance Partner, MIPI Alliance, formed its MIPI Security Investigation Group (Security IG) in 2019. The Security IG was developed to provide recommendations for a scalable, uniform MIPI security framework and ongoing support model. In March, the Security IG evaluation confirmed that DMTF’s SPDM architecture meets MIPI’s requirements for this use case and is an acceptable foundation for aspects of MIPI security specification development going forward.
  • In June,  the OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA) and DMTF agreed to a new work register, outlining areas of technical collaboration between the two organizations. As part of its agreement with DMTF, OFA is launching an effort to design and develop an OpenFabric Management Framework (OFMF) consisting of common APIs and methods to deliver security, provide route management, and maintain optimized performance by adopting Redfish as the interface.
  • In July, DMTF held its annual summer event, the 2021 Alliance Partner Technical Symposium (APTS), virtually via Zoom for the second year in a row.  While we certainly missed the face-to-face interaction at APTS, the virtual event was productive. Led by DMTF’s Vice President of Alliances John Leung, the annual event featured collaborative working group meetings and focused on technical topics of interest to DMTF’s Alliance Partners, as well as keynote addresses from the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturer Group (PICMG)Storage Networking Industry Alliance (SNIA), and the OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA).
  • In August, DMTF and the Trusted Computing Group (TCG) agreed to a new work register outlining areas of technical collaboration between the two organizations. As part of the agreement, the TCG and DMTF’s Platform Management Communications Infrastructure (PMCI) Work Group will align the work of both bodies at an unprecedented level of cooperation. This will benefit not only DMTF’s Security Protocol and Data Model (SPDM) Specifications but also implementers of standards developed by both organizations.

Education and Events
DMTF continued its dedication to industry outreach and education.

International Activity
As part of its global outreach and standardization work, DMTF provides resources and information for users and developers worldwide. 

  • Our Regional Task Force in Japan offers a website where visitors can access translated DMTF documents and specifications, and for our Chinese visitors, information can be found here. Both sites are currently being updated.

Final Thoughts
Even with the ongoing challenges of 2021, together we continued to focus on the work of creating meaningful standards that address industry needs and solve challenges for the end user. We are proud of our valued volunteers and hope each of them takes a moment to reflect on what we’ve accomplished - without their hard work, none of it would be possible. 
Looking ahead to 2022, we want to thank our member companies, volunteers, as well as our alliance and industry partners for their ongoing commitment to the organization. I look forward to the future and the new challenges we will tackle together. As always, thank you for the continued hard work and dedication.