Rivals HP, Hitachi Exchange Storage APIs

In a sign that two major storage competitors are loosening up a bit to
better accommodate customers, Palo, Alto’s HP
and Tokyo’s Hitachi Tuesday agreed to
cross-manage each other’s storage arrays through the exchange of application
programming interfaces .

Under the terms of the agreement, for which financial terms were not
revealed, HP now has the wherewithal to manage Hitachi Freedom Storage
Lightning 9900 and 9900 V Series and Thunder 9200 Series storage arrays
within the HP OpenView Storage Area Management software product. In turn,
Hitachi may manage the HP StorageWorks XP and VA disk arrays, HP
StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) and HP StorageWorks Enterprise
Modular Array (EMA) storage systems within the Hitachi HiCommand Management
framework.


The cross-platform access granted by each company to each company would not
likely have happened a couple of years ago. But amid all the financial belt
tightening, analysts and industry watchers have said it would be beneficial
for storage rivals to loosen the grasp of their software systems to give
them synergy that may boost their respective businesses. Storage
interoperability, it is believed, will be the key to hitting the sweet spot
of customers in the enterprise.


The symbiotic exchange of APIs is an interim step toward standards-based
interoperability being led by the Storage
Networking Industry Association
(SNIA) in an effort called the Storage Management Initiative (SMI). SMI is based on Bluefin technologies
and provides a common management interface for all components in a storage
area network (SAN), including disk arrays, switches, host adapters and
servers.


Both firms feel Tuesday’s move is an exercise of their commitment to Bluefin
and SMI.


“This agreement with Hitachi is more proof that HP is fully committed to
providing interoperable solutions with all leading storage vendors in order
to make storage area management as easy as possible,” said Mark Sorenson,
vice president, Storage Software Division, HP Network Storage Solutions.
“Customers will be able to use HP OpenView software as the key to
dramatically reduce the cost of managing storage in a heterogeneous
environment.”


It seems Sorenson is not overstating HP’s belief in interoperability as a
key driver in the storage area management field. HP inked an almost identical
deal
in July with the largest storage software maker — EMC.


As for Hitachi, Naoya Takahashi, division president of the Japanese firm’s
Disk Array Systems Division, said: “This API exchange is a short-term
solution, which will shortly be followed by our CIM (Common Information
Model) based products. Meanwhile, with this exchange our customers will be
able to manage the broadest range of heterogeneous storage systems in the
industry through HiCommand software.”


Despite being rivals in a competitive market worth billions of dollars, HP
and Hitachi have worked on enterprise storage together since May 1999, when
the concerns inked joint technology and original equipment manufacturer
(OEM)
agreements for enterprise-storage subsystems. Tuesday’s deal is an extension
of that agreement.

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