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Vendors pass SMI-S test

Integrating storage products should become easier as vendors adhere to the SMI-S standard.

PHOENIX--The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) announced at the Storage Networking World trade show here that more than 100 products from 14 companies have passed the SNIA Conformance Testing Program (SNIA-CTP) for the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S version 1.02).

These storage products should be easier to manage as the standard takes away some of the complexity in integrating products from different companies into a storage fabric, SNIA spokespeople say.

"We believe SMI-S will ease day-to-day routines of storage management and that the specification will be widely adopted in all new products by the end of 2005," said Ray Dunn, chairman of the SNIA Storage Management Forum. The initial implementation of SMI-S will be as a proxy with native implementations to follow next year. Legacy products can become SMI-S compliant by proxy.

Companies with products that have passed the CTP include Brocade, CNT, Dell, EMC Corp., Hitachi Data Systems, HP, IBM Corp., LSI Logic Storage Systems, Inc., McData, Network Appliance, QLogic Corp., Silicon Graphics, StorageTek Corp., and Sun Microsystems.

Storage management applications not using SMI-S will not have the breadth of multi-vendor management as those applications that do feature SMI-S. Ray Dickensheets of Sprint Corp. said: "We want to be able to put an array on the network and have it automatically discovered." He said other automated processes will include Fibre Channel LUN masking and mapping, and zoning of switches.

Mike Naylor, Product Manager for CNT, said that the functionality in switches with SMI-S is roughly equivalent to what's possible with API swapping now. Rick Bauer, CIO, The Hill School, and Chairman, SNIA End User Council, said "speed of deployment will be a definite advantage."

James Rigger, SNIA Program Manager for CTP said other types of products such as HBAs and routers will be certified in the next stage in August or September.

Storage vendors will still, of course, be able to differentiate their products by building in unique features on top of the basic compatibility and management layer provided by SMI-S. Carolyn DiCenzo, Research Vice President Storage and Enterprise Management Group for Gartner, believes SMI-S is a good first step, but "only a first step." The industry has a long way to go to reach true plug and play, she said.


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