The next generation of intelligent switches are barely shipping, and already there's work underway to standardize their APIs.
Brocade donated its SilkWorm Fabric Application Platform API to the T11.5 committee within the American National Standards Institute's (ANSI) International Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS). Cisco did the same with its Intelligent Switch API, or ISAPI.
The two APIs will be hammered into a generic intelligent switch API called the Fabric Application Interface Standard, or FAIS, which is expected to be ready for public review by June of next year, says Bob Snively, a principal engineer at Brocade and a member of the committee.
The decision to standardize the APIs can be traced back to the ISVs, says Ed Chapman, senior director of product management for Cisco's storage technology group. "Our software partners, be they EMC, Veritas or HP--they want to write an application once," Chapman says. Furthermore, a standard API ensures that "we'll have a lot of software applications to run on our platform."