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Is CDMI ready for prime time?

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CDMI = Potential

CDMI's global traction

Standards organizations around the world are adopting the Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI) as a method of storing data in the cloud. CDMI release 1.0.2 has been submitted to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for standardization (as ISO/IEC FDIS 17826). Ratification should happen in 2012. The European Union (EU) is folding CDMI into initiatives, including the FP7 project from the Standards and Interoperability for eInfrastructure Implementation Initiative (Siena) and the Virtualized Storage Services Foundation for the Future Internet project (Vision Cloud) from IBM Research Haifa. Other projects/organizations, such as the OpenNebula Project, Venus-C and the National Institute of Standards and Technology/ Standards Acceleration to Jumpstart Adoption of Cloud Computing (NIST/SAJACC) are also adopting the standard.

With CDMI, problems related to porting data to other service providers shouldn’t arise. Will that be true out of the gate? I’d like to say yes. However, those of us who’ve spent many years in the storage industry bear scars from efforts like this, and we expect some bumps in the implementation road. Over time, the bumps will smooth out and we’ll see true data portability between services without having to rewrite object interfaces.

What will that development do to the cloud gateway market? It depends. “Gateway” is a misleading term

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as most of these systems are evolving into so much more. I refer to them as cloud-integrated or cloud-enabled storage arrays because that’s clearly the direction they’re heading. And when you’re moving to the cloud, incorporating a local-presence “bridge” from your data center to mitigate latency, ensure consistent performance, provide high availability, and offer encryption and data reduction is a necessity.

Ultimately, CDMI will make it easier and less expensive for everyone to adopt and support cloud storage. Is it “prime-time ready”? Maybe. ISO ratification of the standard will help, but the true test will be vendor adoption. NetApp is solidly behind the effort; but Cisco, Dell, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and other industry heavyweights are also involved. But in the storage industry, action speaks louder than words. The key action here involves vendors rolling out embedded CDMI functionality.

BIO: Terri McClure is a senior storage analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, Milford, Mass.

This was first published in September 2012

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