The development and adoption of cutting-edge technologies usually meets with multiple standards, interoperability problems and skirmishes between rival storage companies. In order to sidestep the usual entanglements and battles and foster the growth of IP storage technologies, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) has formed the SNIA IP Storage Forum, a new entity within the standards organization aimed at promoting and marketing the benefits of storage over Internet Protocols (IP).
The IP storage forum has been in the works for months, and was created to assuage separate efforts from companies that might form their own trade associations to promote IP storage solutions and technologies outside of, and potentially in conflict with, the SNIA.
SNIA said the mission of this group is to market and promote standards-based block storage networking solutions using IP networks in a showing of cooperation and enthusiasm that could bring network storage solutions to a broader market.
"It is clearly evident that IP will have a large impact on storage technologies," said William Hurley, program manager for the Boston-based analyst firm, the Yankee Group.
While the formation of the SNIA's IP Storage workgroup will immediately evangelize for the benefits that IP-based storage solutions can deliver, but according to Hurley a big goal of the forum will be to mitigate against the specter of interoperability that tainted the delivery and acceptance of Fibre Channel.
"Additionally, the work group becomes a complementary body to the on-going development and innovation in IP as debated within the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force). The IP storage work group also allows for an early interface opportunity for vendors from the data and storage networking communities," said Hurley.
SNIA hopes the IP Storage Forum will help expand market awareness of IP storage and its benefits by creating educational materials, participating at conferences and tradeshows with presentations and panel appearances. Also on the forum's agenda are creating interoperability and showcase demonstrations and working with relevant standards bodies.
Proponents of IP storage technologies say they will allow new storage solutions that will take advantage of the pervasive use of the industry-standard Internet Protocol. Applications for IP storage include remote mirroring and backup, distributed Internet Data Centers, storage service provisioning and transparent LAN/MAN/WAN storage networks.
At its inception, the SNIA IP Storage Forum will consist of 40 SNIA-member companies who have signed letters of intent to join the organization. SNIA is also inviting other companies, including those who are not presently SNIA members, to apply to join SNIA and the IP Storage Forum.
For more information:Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor