CIMI v1.0 released

29 August 2012

This morning, the DMTF officially announced the availability of CIMI v1.0. After two years of hard work, heated discussions, and many a vote on proposed changes, CIMI is the best shot the fragmented, confusing, and in places legally encumbered, landscape of IaaS API’s has at a universally supported API. Not just because of the impressive number of industry players that are part of the working group but also because it has been designed from the ground up as a modular RESTful API, taking the breadth of existing IaaS API’s into account.

While the name suggests that CIMI is 75% CIM, the two have actually no relation to each other, except that they are both DMTF standards. CIMI covers most of the familiar concepts from IaaS management: instances (called machines), block storage (volumes), images, and networks. The standard itself is big, though most of the features in it are optional, and I don’t expect that any one provider will support everything mentioned in the standard. To get started, I highly recommend reading the primer first, as a gentle introduction to how CIMI views the world and how it models common IaaS concepts. The standard itself then serves as a convenient reference to fill in the details.

One of the goals of CIMI is that providers with widely varying feature sets can implement it, and it therefore puts a lot of emphasis on making what exactly a provider supports discoverable, using the well-known mechanisms that a RESTful style makes possible , and that we’ve also used in the Deltacloud API to expose as much of each backend’s features as possible. This emphasis on discoverability is one of the things that sets CIMI apart from the popular vendor-specific API’s, where the API has to be implemented in its entirety, or not at all.

We’ve been involved in the working group for the last two years, bringing our experience in designing Deltacloud to the table. We’ve also been busy adding various pieces to Deltacloud, and that implementation experience has been invaluable in the CIMI discussion. We’ll continue to improve our CIMI support, and build out what we have; in particular, we are working on

  • the CIMI frontend for Deltacloud; when you run deltacloudd -f cimi, you get a server that speaks CIMI, with the antrypoint at /cimi/cloudEntryPoint. You can try out the latest code at
  • the CIMI client app (in clients/cimi/ in our git repo — the app makes it both easier to experiment with the CIMI API, and serves as an example of CIMI client code.
  • a CIMI test suite; as part of our test suites, we are adding tests that can be run against any CIMI implementation and will eventually be a useful tool to informally qualify such implementations

As with all open source projects, we always have way more on the todo list than we actually have time to do. If you are interested in contributing to Deltacloud’s CIMI effort, have a look at our Contribute page, stop by the mailing list, or drop into our IRC channel #deltacloud on freenode.

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