A group of major league storage players have collaborated on specs for open standards that could fuel the interoperability movement.
The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) announced Wednesday, that a number of companies, including IBM, Dell, Veritas and Sun, have developed and submitted a draft specification that applies open standards in the creation of a complete management solution for interoperable, multi-vendor storage area networks.
Code-named "Bluefin", the technology uses the Common Information Model (CIM) and Web Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) technology to discover and manage resources in a multi-vendor SAN through common interfaces. It is expected to improve storage management applications and provide management interoperability in heterogeneous SANs.
The contributing companies are BMC Software Inc., Brocade Communications Systems Inc., Computer Associates International Inc., Dell Computer Corp., EMC Corp., Emulex Corp., Gadzoox Networks Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., Hitachi Ltd., IBM Corp., JNI Corp., Prisa Networks Inc., QLogic Corp., Storage Technology Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc., and Veritas Software Corp.
The Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) and SNIA have been battling interoperability problems in storage management for years. The DTMF developed WBEM, a standard set of web-based enterprise management tools that unify management of enterprise computing environments. WBEM includes the CIM, which is an encoding specification based on Extensible Markup Language (XML), and a transport mechanism based on Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP),according to the SNIA.
CIM is an object-oriented information model that provides a conceptual view of physical and logical system components.
John Webster, senior analyst and founder, Data Mobility Group Inc., Nashua, N.H., said Bluefin adds some underlying technology to the CIM itself.
"[Bluefin] provides a common way to do discovery," said Webster.
Webster said Bluefin technology "walks" the storage infrastructure to enable discovery operations. It also provides security capabilities for storage management software.
More important than the technology itself, Webster said Bluefin offers proof that vendors are actually working together to advance storage management standards.
"It's important for SNIA to demonstrate that the [CIM} management model is real. It's important for users to see that," he said.
"SNIA needs to show proof points and this is definitely one of those proof points," added Webster.
SNIA Technical Director, Arnold Jones said the SNIA looks forward to evaluating the Bluefin specification to enhance its work.
SNIA members demonstrated CIM-based management software at the Storage Networking World Conference in Palm Desert last month.
Dig Deeper on Data storage strategy
All signs point to an open management specification becoming a standard by the end of the year and, with vendors already claiming Bluefin support, SearchStorage.com wanted to get the skinny from the top industry organization on the status of the Storage Management Initiative.
Sheila Childs, chairman of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), the industry's umbrella group for all things storage, gave us a peek under the covers at what the SNIA has accomplished, what's left to be done and whether the SNIA has plans to absorb any other storage networking organizations.