IBM, Brocade Team on Standardized Storage Management

Brocade Communications Systems Monday teamed with IBM to deliver standards-based storage area network
management software.

In the agreement, for which financial details were not made public, the
newly announced IBM Tivoli Storage Area Network Manager will use the Brocade
Fabric Access API 2.0 for discovery of active zone
configurations in a Brocade fabric to show separate views for each
discovered zone and to show all devices in a zone. Essentially, the software
infrastructures will keep tabs on storage devices in a network.

San Jose, Calif.’s Brocade, a maker of fabric switches and software whose
purpose is to optimize data availability and storage and server resources,
said its Fabric Access API will be compliant with the Common Information
Model (CIM) by the first half of 2003. CIM, is a model
for describing management information in a network enterprise environment.

Armonk, N.Y.’s IBM and Brocade believe Monday’s deal will set the stage for further
convergence of SAN management strategies based on CIM, and the WBEM, or
Web-Based Enterprise Management, which is a set of management and Internet
technologies developed to unify the management of enterprise computing. CIM
and WEBM are both object technologies applied by a greater, overarching
strategy called Bluefin, whose
purpose is to make it possible for heterogeneous SANs to operate smoothly.

The firms argue that through CIM, storage infrastructure components will
have a standard interface which software can discover and use to manage
those components. This reduces the amount of specialized code within the
management application and allows the company to focus on other issues.
Storage infrastructure providers and software management makers are banking
on such standards as CIM and WBEM to ensure that customers benefit from the
rapid development of SAN management applications. Firms such as Brocade and
IBM are trying to answer their customers call for increased functionality
and greater return-on investment.

In an expansion of their existing partnership, IBM’s Tivoli Storage Area
Network Manager is optimized to manage the Brocade installed base of over
1.8 million SAN ports. Brocade is also now a certified “Ready for Tivoli”
partner, which helps ensure that Brocade products are designed, tested, and
validated to be interoperable with Tivoli Software technology management

The play is one of a myriad of partnerships in which usual rivals turn
teammates for the goal of promoting interoperability for SAN environments.
HP, EMC and a number of other major systems vendors have inked
interoperability deals lately for the same purpose.

IBM also sells and supports the entire family of 2-Gigabit-per-second
Brocade SAN infrastructure, including Brocade’s signature SilkWorm line of
switches. In turn, Brocade serves as the storage networking foundation for
IBM open SAN products for SAN customers in Europe.

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