Sun Microsystems is smarting from the unilateral announcement by six companies last week that they have created a Supported Solutions Forum (SSF) to support interoperability between IBM, Hitachi, EMC and Compaq storage arrays and Brocade and McData switches. Although Sun and Hewlett-Packard have been present at the meetings, hosted by the Storage Network Industry Association to foster greater interoperability between SAN products, neither was party to the resulting agreement.
"In the middle of the meetings a handful of the companies decided to put out a press release, which says there are six of us [committed to delivering interoperability]. That's the wrong way to do it," said Denise Shiffman, vice president of marketing at Sun's networked storage group.
Sun claims the agreement is half-baked, because it does not afford channel partners and resellers the ability to participate and offer qualified interoperability support services. The current arrangement only allows the six participants to sell them. Shiffman called it the industry's "most proprietary open standards announcement," and added that Sun will not put its name to the agreement "until it is done right" and extended to the channel.
According to Sun, there are two things that must be considered. First is the interoperability itself; second are the cooperative support agreements.
So just when it seemed the network storage industry had woken up to the need to address multi-vendor interoperability, it has started sticking pins into its own eyes again.
It's little surprise that vendors want to protect the lucrative revenue stream they will get from selling interoperability services multi-vendor SANs are not going to be cheap. And compared with the other storage vendors, Sun is more dependent on the channel to deliver storage products and services.
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