SANs are becoming ubiquitous. And with that ubiquity comes the need to manage the darn things. This tip discusses a new approach of an attempt to deliver middleware and APIs for managing heteroteneous SAN environments. The topic of SAN technologies and SAN management will also be covered in great detail at the upcoming free

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The growing demand for heterogenous SAN management and the lack of established standards is moving vendors to work out their own ways of sharing management information, including developing shared APIs. One example is EMC Wide Sky, which is both an initiative and the name of a middleware product.

The heart of the Wide Sky effort is an attempt by EMC to develop a set of APIs that will allow its management software to handle the differences in hardware vendors' approach to management information. The job of the Wide Sky APIs is to translate from the vendors' interfaces to a standard interface for EMC products. This will make it easier to adapt EMC management software to handle other vendors' hardware. EMC has already reached agreements with Compaq and, more recently, Hewlett Packard (which has acquired Compaq) to use their APIs as part of the effort.

For SAN administrators, the promise is that efforts like Wide Sky will make it easier to manage the kind of multi-vendor SANs that are so common today. Analysts say Wide Sky is likely to be especially beneficial to EMC-oriented shops that need to manage SAN components from other vendors.

Gartner Group discusses EMC's approach in a research note titled "EMC Software Supports Heterogenous Hardware".

Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

This was first published in August 2002

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