Storage Vendors–Minus IBM–Partner on Storage Management Standards
July 10, 2006 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Some of the biggest names in the storage business have put their weight behind a standard called the Storage Management Initiative specification (SMI-S) put forth by the Storage Networking Industry Association and are calling for everyone to get behind the SMI-S standard to make the job of managing storage a bit easier.
As has been the case for servers, storage arrays come with unique management tools and use different protocols to make the management features embedded in the arrays accessible through APIs. SMI-S has been crafted to make a standard way for tools to discover, model, and provision storage in an array so a server can access it, and SNIA is now calling for the storage industry heavyweights to back the standard and help extend it to cover information lifecycle management, data encryption and protection, grid computing, and interoperability between storage management tools.
Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Data Systems, EMC, Sun Microsystems, and Symantec have backed the initiative. These companies comprise the bulk of enterprise disk array sales and more than half of the enterprise storage management software market. IBM is conspicuously absent from the list.
IBM had been, according to the rumor mill, unhappy with the speed with which SNIA was moving to create a storage management standard, which is why it got together with Fujitsu, Cisco Systems, Brocade Communications, CA, LSI Logic, Network Appliance, Novell, and McData in October 2005 to create the Aperi project under the Eclipse open source tools project. Aperi is still in the development stages, and Sun, through its StorageTek acquisition, was originally part of the Aperi effort, but switched to the SMI-S effort being promoted by SNIA.
Now is a good time for SNIA and Aperi to reconcile their differences and give the world what a standard really is: One standard, and no more.