The Common Information Model (CIM) is a computer industry standard for defining device and application characteristics so that system administrators and management programs will be able to control devices and applications from different manufacturers or sources in the same way. For example, a company that purchased different kinds of storage devices from different companies would be able to view the same kind of information (such as: device name and model, serial number, capacity, network location, and relationship to other devices or applications) about each of them or be able to access the information from a program. CIM takes advantage of the Extensible Markup Language (XML). Hardware and software makers choose one of several defined XML schemas (information structures) to supply CIM information about their product.
CIM was developed by an industry group, the Distributed (formerly Desktop) Management Task Force (DMTF), as part of an initiative called Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM). CIM is intended to be more comprehensive than earlier models now in use, the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) and Desktop Management Interface (DMI). With CIM, relationship information (what's connected to what) can be used to help trace the source and status of problems.