Storage vendors pledge CIM products by 2003

Several storage vendors have thrown down the gauntlet and vowed to make CIM-compliant storage management products available by 2003. But, according to analysts, users should expect that anyway.

A new alliance has been formed in the world of storage management standards.

Hitachi Data Systems Corp., IBM Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Veritas Software Corp., announced Tuesday a new effort dedicated to the progress of Common Information Model (CIM), Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) technology and Storage Management Initiative (SMI) specifications for management in storage area networks.

As part of this effort, the companies pledged to roll out CIM/WBEM-based products sometime during 2003.

WBEM is a standard set of Web-based enterprise management tools that unify management of enterprise computing environments. WBEM includes CIM, which acts as an encoding specification based on Extensible Markup Language (XML) and a transport mechanism based on Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP), according to the SNIA.

CIM is an object-oriented information model that provides a conceptual view of physical and logical system components.

According to the SNIA, CIM acts as a superset of all existing storage hardware and software functionality that is independent of platform and works entirely over the Internet.

Evaluator Group Inc. analyst Randy Kerns said that users should assume that all vendors will work to conform to the prevailing solutions. "Today that is APIs," he said, "and in the future [it] will be CIM."

But Kerns cautioned that users should not mistake marketing efforts for real products.

"To make a marketing campaign out of what the details are and what you will support in the future usually indicates a company may not be in the forefront and may want to distract people," Kerns said.

In fact, all of the participating vendors along with Hewlett Packard Co., and EMC Corp., have already pledged support for CIM.

"It really is a vendor issue and should not be a specific item for customers. Customers should focus on solutions that work and get guarantees," Kerns said. "The big issue now is: who has storage management software that is well integrated and works to provide the best value to the customer?"

To create a marketing campaign based on what vendors will support in the future, Kerns said, usually indicates that those companies may not be in the forefront and may want to distract people.

Companies participating in the effort, which is open to all storage vendors, are required to make a public commitment to deploy open storage networks. The companies said they will actively encourage all other storage vendors to join them in this commitment to supporting CIM/WBEM standards.

Participating companies must ship CIM/WBEM-based storage management software commercially at some point during 2003, support the Bluefin specification and conduct joint interoperability testing and qualifications.

Hitachi plans to ship its HiCommand Management Framework and a suite of software products with its first CIM-compliant features and modules by the end of this quarter. The company will continue to ship products with expanded features through 2003.

IBM said its new CIM-enabled disk storage products will hit the street during the first half of 2003. IBM will also enable its Tivoli Software storage products and ship new CIM-enabled hardware.

In August 2002, Sun Microsystems shipped its CIM-compliant Sun StorEdge Enterprise Storage Manager. The company has said it will expand ESM's CIM compliance and introduce CIM providers for more of its hardware products during the first half of 2003.

Veritas is expected to CIM-enable its Adaptive Software Architecture through 2003 via the Veritas Enabled program. Products such as SANPoint Control and Volume Manager will be among the first CIM-ready products from the company.

"There is growing concern among storage customers surrounding depth of integration, timeliness to market, and costs involved with API-swapping," said Steve Kenniston, a technology analyst with Enterprise Storage Group Inc., which is based in Milford, Mass. "Industry efforts that comply with and support SNIA and SMI specifications are going to be embraced by storage customers."

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail Kevin Komiega, News Writer

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Vendors march toward CIM management standard

Hitachi latest vendor to support storage management standard

SNIA contributors make progress in CIM management

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