Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) is a set of industry standards that an enterprise can use to manage its information operations in the distributed computing environment of the Internet. An important part of WBEM is the Common Information Model (CIM), a standard for defining device and application characteristics so that system and network administrators and management programs are able to control devices and applications from different manufacturers or sources in the same way. WBEM standards provide a Web-based approach for exchanging CIM data across different technologies and platforms. CIM data is encoded using Extensible Markup Language (XML) and usually transmitted between WBEM servers and clients using the Internet's Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP).
WBEM is designed to be extensible, allowing new applications, devices, and operating systems to be specified in the future. Open-source implementations of WBEM are available from several vendors, including OpenPegasus, OpenWBEM, and WBEMsource. WBEM is said to be particularly appropriate for storage networking, grid computing, utility computing, and Web services.
Compaq's Systems Division and an industry consortia composed of Compaq, BMC, Cisco, Intel and Microsoft first introduced the concept of establishing industry standards for distributed computing on the Internet in July of 1996. Their work was later handed off to the Distributed Management Task Force (DTMF) so that standards would remain vendor-neutral. A more limited approach to a network management standard, the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)was developed earlier and is still in use.