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Vendors and CIM: How Deep is Their Love?

The reign of CIM-based storage management is just around the corner.

At this fall's Storage Networking World, 32 vendors participated in the Storage Networking Industry Association's CIM and Bluefin (now the Storage Management Interface Specification) interoperability demo, suggesting that the reign of CIM-based storage management is just around the corner.

But according to John Webster, founder of the Data Mobility Group, most participants demonstrated fairly rudimentary CIM capabilities-modeling the CIM object, enabling them to be discovered by a CIM-based management application-but little configuration or control functionality.

The good news is that supporting CIM appears to be "a fairly simple process," Webster says. "If you want to throw the resources at it, you can get it done." CIM providers, for the time being, are being implemented as proxy agents running on generic management servers. Once the spec settles down, they'll be embedded into devices.

Some vendors, it must be said, are already demonstrating more robust CIM/Bluefin functionality. AppIQ, a CIM-based storage management software developer--through its CIM-IQ development program--has written a number of CIM providers for device vendors including Network Appliance and LSI Logic that can demonstrate provisioning all the way from the storage subsystem to the application, says Doug Cahill, vice president of business development.

That's in part to vendors' increased willingness to expose richer functionality via their APIs, Cahill says. "In the past six months, APIs have gotten much more interesting."

Furthermore, CIM-enabled products should start shipping in the second quarter of 2003. "HP, IBM, Brocade, HDS--they're all on the cusp," he says.

Still, work on CIM/Bluefin has only just begun. For starters, Cahill says CIM still needs work to its discovery mechanism, better concurrency control, a security model and more compliance tools. "Plugfests are a great forum, but vendors shouldn't have to wait for one every time they need to see if their CIM tools work," he says.

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