Signaling the arrival of storage management nirvana, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) this week will demonstrate a set of open interfaces backed by the likes of Hewlett-Packard, Veritas, EMC, and IBM.
SNIA will use its biannual Storage Networking World conference as a coming out party for SMI-S (Storage Management Initiative Specification), once known as Bluefin.
Five years in development, the set of interfaces permit the control of heterogeneous storage by third-party storage management software packages. SMI-S will allow storage administrators to create and delete zones and volumes, as well as monitor switches, array controllers, and host bus adapters.
Enterprises will now have the ability to manage all of their storage capacity -- independent of the manufacturer -- with a single management framework.
HP, Veritas, EMC, and IBM have reported they will implement SMI-S interfaces in hardware and software offerings that will be available next year.
According to Larry Krantz, president of SNIA’s Storage Management Forum (SMF), SMI-S is also an initiative -- not just a set of interfaces.
SNIA has established an interoperability lab in Colorado Springs, Colo., for vendors to test their products with those of other vendors. But the association is also developing compliance tests as part of its ICTP (Interoperability Compliance Testing Program).
The tests will ensure that storage components such as arrays, tape libraries, and switches have properly applied the SMI-S standard.
“We hope to bypass early-stage issues with interoperability,” Kranz said, noting that past storage-centric standards such as FC (Fibre Channel) suffered initially from variations in how the standard was applied.
“To get adoption, we need education, like the SMI development courses we ran all summer,” Krantz said. Additionally, SNIA has created a developer’s network.
On the storage-vendor front, Hewlett-Packard and other companies are already implementing SMI-S into hardware products.
Steve Jerman, SMI-S lead architect at HP, said the company has been using the Distributed Management Task Force’s WBEM (Web-Based Enterprise Management) standard, which -- together with CIM (Common Information Model) -- makes up the framework for the SMI-S interfaces.
“I’m hearing that 90 percent of the array industry has adopted this,” Jerman said.
That 90 percent includes EMC, which until recently was exploring a storage management framework that did not incorporate SMI-S.
“SMI-S helps us drive the ability to do multivendor management,” said Barry Ader, director of software product marketing at EMC.
EMC has said it will make available “providers” for its full line of Symmetrix and Clariion storage arrays -- including older models -- by year’s end. This mechanism feeds management information about a device up to a storage management software client.
In the first quarter of next year, EMC will release new SMI-S-enabled versions of its storage management software products VisualSAN, VisualSRM (Storage Resource Management), and ControlCenter.
Also on the client side, Veritas will ensure that its storage resource software product, SANPoint Control, conforms with SMI-S by the first quarter of 2004.