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The Computer Management Framework project, better known as CMF, was launched at the end of 2004 in the context of the Computing and Networking Infrastructure for Controls (CNIC). CMF was initially intended to be a management tool for Windows computers in the controls environment, known as NICEFC (NICE For Controls).

The mandate of the NICEFC project was to build a management system for local administrators where they should be able to group their machines in computer groups (Named Sets of Computers) and assign roles to it. A role defines the functionality of the machine by means of the assignment of applications, policy settings and scheduled tasks.

After some more in depth analysis, it became evident that NICEFC could be easily extended for re-use in non-controls activities, such as CAD engineering, public area PCs, etc. Taking into account the support that IT-IS has to provide for both NICEFC and for a different system for the general desktop environment, adopting NICEFC as a general solution became very attractive. By using NICEFC for the whole desktop management, IT-IS has only to maintain 1 single technology; centrally provided packages can be directly re-used by the NICEFC community and the NICEFC product can be more intensively tested and debugged before operational introduction, minimizing the risk of instabilities in a mission critical control environment.

After deploying a prototype in 2005, tested by the controls community and inside IT-IS as an evaluation for a further general solution, CMF was accepted as a single and general computer management system for the whole NICE desktop in January 2006. The name CMF is in fact the site-wide deployment of NICEFC.

Note that the basic OS installation of a NICE PC is not handled by the Framework. The Framework comes in just after the initial installation of the OS. The OS installation part is covered by Diane, which includes fully automated installation of Windows. More information about Diane is available at the “Installation at CERN” paragraph.