Modeling products with MIF files

Defining groups to classify attributes

After you detail all the attributes for your product, you must group the attributes meaningfully. Groups of attributes should be conceptually distinct or strongly related. Ideally, they should relate to a physical entity, especially for hardware products.

For example, a manufacturer who produces a motherboard would consider the motherboard to be the component. There are groups to define attributes for the processor, the serial port, and the parallel port, but not separate groups for the memory management unit or the write-through cache, which are integral to the processor itself.

For software products, the groups should map to functionally-related items. For example, a word processing product might have groups to describe the editing function, the spellchecker, the drawing tools and the printing function.

Consider how the product will be used when you model it; choose groups and attributes that will make sense to the people managing it. Use standardized groups and attributes as much as possible, because these definitions will be familiar to management applications and the people using them. For example, use the DMTF-approved System MIF to describe a desktop system or server rather than creating a new, proprietary MIF.

Your product model must allow for different views of the same data by providing both standard groups of attributes and private groups of attributes. For example, both an external fax modem and an internal data modem can be described by one or more groups describing characteristics shared by all modems. But each individualized product MIF would also need some groups of attributes that describe characteristics that apply only to each specific variant: internal versus external, fax modem versus data-only modem.

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