Eighteen months ago, the Storage Networking Industry Association announced the formation of the Supported Solutions...
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Forum, then a consortium of six vendors that would work together to put together--and support--interoperable, tested configurations of SAN products.
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Since then, unfortunately, "we've made progress, but not as much progress as we'd like," says Phil Mills, Supported Solutions Forum (SSF) Chair, and senior technical staff at IBM, publishing a grand total of five supported solutions.
Why the slow progress? "I think one of the impediments of the SSF was that we created solutions that we thought the industry needed, and in actual fact, they didn't exactly match what the industry needed," says Mills.
Case in point: SSF's first solution qualified two SAN solutions--one for McData, and one for Brocade switches--where arrays from Compaq, EMC, HDS, and IBM are in separate data zones within a single SAN fabric. "End users told us, 'Yes, we want to run heterogeneous storage arrays in the same fabric, but we want them to be in the same data zone,'" says Mills.
Moving forward, "we think that we'll make much more progress because we're going to be getting customer input," Mills says. Going forward, the SSF is newly committed to increasing customer involvement, in the form of frequent conferences, Web-based forums and white papers. The SSF is also urging customers to communicate their ideas from the SSF Web site.
Also, in future supported solutions, the SSF will include information not only about what works, says Mills, but what doesn't work. "Ordinarily, you don't talk about that in a white paper," he says, but in an indication of how things have changed, insists that the SSF members--all 34 of them--"are all OK with that."