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Storage association backs Network Data Management Protocol

The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) has offered up a ray of light for those adrift in a murky sea...

of interoperability standards stagnation.

The SNIA announced that it will integrate the Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP) into its repertoire of industry backup solutions.

Legato Systems, Inc. and Network Appliance, Inc. have asked the SNIA to manage the co-developed protocol for future standards development. The SNIA said that it has formed a new work group specifically responsible for the continued development of protocol standards, interoperability testing, and educational programs for NDMP. This group is organized as a subgroup of the SNIA Backup Working Group.

"This announcement basically places management of the protocol and its future in the hands of SNIA, whereas before, it was managed by two vendors," said JohnWebster, analyst for Illuminata Inc., Nashua, N.H.

According to Webster, this move by the SNIA will have many implications. "Now the protocol has a good chance to become a widely adopted standard," he said. "[It's a] big shot in the arm for vendors who have already adopted NDMP and integrated it within their product sets and for the co-developers, Net App and now Legato who have intimate knowledge of the protocol."

NDMP was an open standard originally developed by Network Appliance and Intelliguard Software, Inc., (now part of Legato Systems) for the centralized control of enterprise-wide data backup and recovery. NDMP enables backup software applications to provide support for NDMP compliant devices without having to port client code to the device and also separates the flow of backup/restore control information, which can be done over the local area network (LAN), from the flow of data to and from backup media which can be done over the storage area network (SAN).

"Management standards like NDMP are the foundations upon which trusted, interoperable storage networks are built. We are pleased that industry leaders Legato and Network Appliance have entrusted the SNIA with the responsibility and the future development of this key protocol," said Larry Krantz, chairman of the board of directors of the SNIA.

"Legato's commitment to open standards is underscored by the adoption of NDMP by the SNIA," said Roger Stager, senior technical strategist at Legato Systems and a co-inventor of NDMP. "Although already implemented by many NAS and storage software vendors, the SNIA's activity will serve to more quickly bring the benefits of this important standard to storage networking customers by hastening development and vendor adoption of the protocol."

The SNIA said that over the next few months, the NDMP working group will focus its efforts on refining the existing NDMP specification, finalizing the definition for NDMP version 4.0, fostering more vendor interoperability testing, encouraging broader NDMP adoption by storage networking vendors, and hosting educational sessions on the protocol's benefits and uses.

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