QUESTION: What is your position on API sharing? Is it really gong to make the difference in making multi-vendor shops easier to manage or is it just a way for vendors to offer "compatibility" to customers?
ANSWER: I think API sharing is a good start and somewhat helpful but by and large over hyped by the large OEM community. As the shift from hardware to software manifests, vendors who traditionally competed for capacity now find themselves competing for eyeballs on the system administrator's desktop. Innovation in the software layer will continue to strive to optimize the vendor's box and "eyeball" experience at the expense of their competition (as is to be expected). The best a customer can hope for is some level of commonality at the lowest level of commoditization (i.e. disk capacity).
API sharing is good for the industry in that it has allowed a number of start-ups to create some innovative new products that will get sucked up in the consolidation that is starting in the vendor space. As that occurs, some of the promises of "standards" will begin to show up and begin to make heterogeneous environments easier to manage.