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Finally! Storage standards

The promise of storage system standards has finally materialized. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society has approved the world's first Storage System Standards. Approved on June 21 for the IEEE Media Management System (MMS), the standards cover four distinct subject areas: the MMS's architecture; data model; core media management protocols; along with drive management and library management protocols./p>

The IEEE sees this first set of MMS standards as the catalyst toward more standards from the IEEE Computer Society's Storage Systems Standards Committee (SSSC). Among other active IEEE projects are: further MMS standards; a standard for 'Data Mover'; a recommended practice for 'Portable Tape Driver Architecture'; standards for 'Common Tape Driver Semantics' and 'Common Format for Data on Tape'; and an overall 'Guide for Storage System Design' � also known as the 'Mass Storage System Reference Model'.

"The specific standards mentioned in the release are components of the NDMP (Network Data Management Protocol) the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) ratified in July," said William Hurley, program manager for the Boston, Mass.-based Yankee Group. "The IEEE moves accepted industry body proposals toward publication," he said.

Based on the open source implementation of Silicon Graphics, Inc.'s, OpenVault removable media management software, the standards, according to the IEEE, significantly extend and refine the OpenVault ideas, benefiting users and implementers alike. The IEEE says the publication of these standards will allow storage vendors to create interoperable, distributed, fully scalable, platform-neutral, and secure system products that are free from restrictive licensing. And by describing the IEEE MMS in multiple standards, which specify system and component behavior rather than content, a granularity of conformance is offered that permits products from the greatest number of vendors.

Hurley said that the IEEE is a standards body that validates and publishes standards for a wide array of technologies. They have set standards, for example, ranging from electrical currency in serial and parallel cables to ratifying semi-conductor architecture. "This body is highly respected and its guidelines are followed," he added.

More than half a century old, the IEEE Computer Society is the oldest and largest membership association of computer professionals in the world. The largest of the 36 technical societies that make up the IEEE, the Computer Society is also the leading provider of technical information and services to the computing industry.

NDMP was an open standard originally developed by Network Appliance, Inc., and Intelliguard Software, Inc., (now part of Legato Systems). This standard was developed for the centralized control of enterprise-wide data backup and recovery. NDMP enables backup software applications to separate the flow of backup/restore control information from the flow of data to and from the backup media.

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