CIM API concepts

Storage API is based on several design patterns, which are common in CIM and SMI-S.

Separation of state and configuration

If foo is configurable, CIM uses two classes to describe it:

  • CIM_Foo: state of foo.
  • CIM_FooSetting: configuration of foo.

That means, each foo on managed system is represented by one CIM_Foo instance and one CIM_FooSetting instance. They are connected together using CIM_FooElementSettingData association instance.

If there is no CIM_FooSetting instance for a CIM_Foo, it indicates that the foo is not configurable.

For example, a local filesystem is represented by:

  • one instance of CIM_LocalFileSystem, which contains state of the filesystem – nr. of inodes, nr. of free inodes, total space on the filesystem, free space, etc.
  • one instance of CIM_LocalFileSystemSetting, which contains configuration of the filesystem – inode size, journal size, ...

Sometimes, state and configuration overlap. In our filesystem example, BlockSize is property of both CIM_LocalFileSystem and CIM_LocalFileSystemSetting. Logically, the BlockSize should be only in CIM_LocalFileSystemSetting. But if a filesystem was not configurable, there would be no CIM_LocalFileSystemSetting for it and therefore any management application would not have access to its BlockSize, which is important feature of the filesystem.

Configuration service

In CIM world, managed elements cannot be configured directly by editing the associated CIM_FooSetting with the configuration of foo. Instead, there is CIM_FooConfigurationService singleton, which has method to create, modify and sometimes also delete foos.

Change of configuration

If an application want to change configuration of a foo, it must create new auxiliary CIM_FooSetting instance with requested new configuration and associate this new CIM_FooSetting with the CIM_Foo it wants to configure. The application does not need to completely fill the auxiliary CIM_FooSetting, in most cases it is enough to edit only the properties that it wants to change, the rest of properties can be NULL.

For example, to change CIM_LocalFileSystemSetting of a CIM_LocalFileSystem, the application must create new CIM_LocalFileSystemSetting, fill its properties it wants to change and then call CIM_FileSystemConfigurationService.SNIA_ModifyFileSystem() method.

The auxiliary CIM_LocalFileSystemSetting created by the application can be reused by the application to change configuration of different CIM_LocalFileSystem instances.

Creation of instances

The CIM_FooSetting is also used to create new objects. If an application wants to create new foo, it creates new auxiliary CIM_FooSetting, which describes configuration of the foo to create. The application can then call specific API method to create the foo and new CIM_Foo is created, with its own associated CIM_FooSetting. The associated CIM_FooSetting is basically a copy of the auxiliary CIM_FooSetting created by the application. Therefore the application can reuse one auxiliary CIM_FooSetting instance to create or modify multiple foos.

For example, to create a filesystem on a block device, the application must create CIM_LocalFileSystemSetting, set its properties as it wants and call CIM_FileSystemConfigurationService.SNIA_CreateFileSystem.


The DMTF and SMI-S describe various methods and configuration properties of various classes. Implementations of the standards can implement only some of these methods and properties. Therefore CIM_FooConfigurationCapabilities describes what methods and kinds of foo our implementation of CIM_FooConfigurationService supports.

For example, if our CIM_FileSystemConfigurationService supports xfs and ext3 filesystems and only SNIA_CreateFileSystem and SNIA_ModifyFileSystem method calls, it will be reflected in its associated CIM_FileSystemConfigurationCapabilities.

In addition, if there are several different kind of foos supported by the implementation, each such kind can have its own CIM_FooCapabilities instance to describe all available configuration options and their value ranges.

For example, if our CIM_FileSystemConfigurationService is able to create xfs and ext3 filesystems, there are two CIM_LocalFileSystemCapabilities instances, one for xfs and the second for ext3. The xfs-related instance describes valid inode sizes for xfs, while the ext3-related instance describes valid inode sizes for ext3. Since we can subclass CIM_LocalFileSystemCapabilities, the xfs-related instance can have additional xfs-specific properties and so can have also the ext3-related instance.

The supported properties and their ranges can be either defined directly in the CIM_FooCapabilities (which is the most common case) or using CIM_FooSetting attached to CIM_FooCapabilities using CIM_SettingsDefineCapabilities association. The associated CIM_FooSetting can then define minimum, maximum or default values of the configuration properties. Consult DMTF description of CIM_SettingsDefineCapabilities association in this case.

This is the case of filesystem configuration, the capabilities of xfs and ext3 filesystem is defined using CIM_LocalFileSystemSetting.

Example CIM_FileSystemConfigurationService with capabilities and settings, which define the capabilities.

There are slight variations on this concept across DMTF and SMI-S profiles as the standards evolved, sometimes are CIM_FooConfigurationCapabilities and CIM_FooCapabilities merged into one class, sometimes the capabilities are associated directly to managed elements, sometimes the capabilities as defined using setting instances etc. Still, the concept is the same - capabilities define what configuration options are supported by the implementation and its valid values or value ranges. Different implementations will have different capabilities. Setting instances then describe specific configuration of one managed element.

Predefined configurations

To simplify management applications, the implementation can provide several CIM_FooSetting instances for the most typical foo configurations. These instances are associated to CIM_FooCapabilities. Application then does not need to manually create auxiliary CIM_FooSetting instance and fill its properties, it can directly use the preconfigured ones.

For example, an implementation can provide one typical CIM_LocalFileSystemSetting instance for generic xfs filesystem and one CIM_LocalFileSystemSetting instance for xfs filesystem tuned for Gluster, which needs larger inode size for better performance.