The Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI), announced in mid-2003, is a Microsoft-led multi-year industry initiative to provide a coordinated set of solutions around the Microsoft Windows platform. The goal of DSI is to simplify and automate how businesses design, develop, deploy, manage, and operate distributed systems.
Enterprise solutions often have a mix of Microsoft and non-Microsoft software services running on a wide range of hardware, so it's not surprising that Microsoft is collaborating heavily with partners on the design and development of all aspects of DSI, as well as promoting DSI as the best way for third parties to deliver end-to-end solutions. It is Microsoft's intention to work with partners to leverage DSI to more easily integrate their various application development tools, operating systems, applications, hardware, and management tools around the Windows platform. The result of this initiative will be better reliability, reduced costs, and increased responsiveness throughout the entire IT life cycle.
The Dynamic Systems Initiative is not an effort to create a series of independent discrete software development life cycle technologies. Rather, the goal of DSI is to create a connection from the design of a system to the operation of that system, and on through to the end users using that system. By creating an integrated feedback loop spanning the entire life cycle of a system, Microsoft plans to facilitate the ongoing improvement of IT infrastructure with software.
In short, the Dynamic Systems Initiative is focused on maximizing people resources and delivering software that can decrease labor costs through the entire IT life cycle. For this effort to succeed, systems must be designed with operations in mind and with management a core attribute of the underlying platform. To this end, Microsoft has mapped out three Dynamic Systems Initiative deliverables key to the promise of self-managing dynamic systems (this chapter focuses on the first only):
System Definition Model (SDM): The future of DSI is dependent on delivering a unifying XML-driven modeling technology called the System Definition Model (SDM). SDM enables Microsoft and third parties to describe life-cycle components (and tools) for heterogeneous distributed systems. These modeled components will be capable of enabling increased integration, automation, flexibility, and design time validation across the full application's life cycle. Microsoft sees SDM as a core technological differentiator between Windows and competing platforms.
DSI roadmap: The first roadmap deliverable for developers can be found in Visual Studio Team Edition for Software Architects whose Distributed System Designers rely on the System Definition Model to support the architecture and design support for applications and data centers. On the Windows server front, Microsoft has already begun delivering on this initiative with Windows 2003 Server R2 WS-Management, System Center Capacity Planner 2006, System Center Reporting Manager 2006, System Center Data Protection Manager 2006, System Management Server (SMS) 2003 SP1, and Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005. Microsoft's long-term roadmap includes new versions of these products with deeper integration between these products and use of SDM.
Broad partner ecosystem: A broad set of Microsoft partners delivering DSI products and solutions. Microsoft has worked hard over the past few years to solicit input and feedback from enterprise customers, partners, and third-party vendors to ensure that a robust SDM schema is captured.