SNIA Launches Storage Management Initiative

The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) today announced the launch of the SNIA Storage Management Initiative (SMI), an organization-wide program to develop, standardize, and drive the adoption of open storage management interfaces.

The aim of the initiative, which based on the Bluefin draft specification recently submitted to the SNIA, is to solve one of the storage industry’s most challenging issues: management interoperability.

According to the SNIA, the initiative will ‘strive to meet today’s customer needs for more easily managed multi-vendor storage networks and the ability to maximize valuable IT budgets. The SMI’s goal is to generate management standards and to create an open storage management interface built upon the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF)’s Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) architecture and the Common Information Model (CIM).’

“The SNIA recognizes customer concerns and demands for a more efficient storage networking solution and is dedicating its efforts to making a truly open, interoperable storage network a reality,” said Brad Stamas, SNIA chairman. “The standards created by the Storage Management Initiative will alleviate the complexities that daunt many IT professionals and also increase the value and efficiency of vendors’ hardware and software storage solutions.”

The SMI continues the work being conducted by SNIA Technical Work Groups and member companies to further the use of CIM/WBEM technology in storage management products. The Bluefin specification is the cornerstone of the first SMI standard being developed and describes an enhanced CIM/WBEM interface for discovering, managing, and monitoring devices on a storage network.

“The challenge now facing the industry is the broad adoption of Bluefin in shipping products as well as the refinement and expansion of the specification.” said Roger Reich, Chairman of the SMI Committee and the consortium of companies that drafted Bluefin. “The resources that built Bluefin will now be added to those of the SNIA to expand and accelerate the success of the storage networking industry.”

The new SNIA Storage Management Initiative is a direct result of feedback obtained from customer initiatives within the SNIA. Various SNIA customer surveys, polls, and input from the newly formed Customer Executive Council have consistently cited that multi-vendor storage management is the number one concern of today’s IT customers. The SNIA has maintained significant investment in CIM/WBEM since it hosted the first public storage demonstration of this technology at the fall Storage Networking World in 1999.

Following the completion of a formal review of the specification, the SNIA officially adopted Bluefin and created the SMI, allowing the integration of Bluefin with the organization’s previous technical work on storage management. The SNIA plans to develop and promote the use of the standard; goals for the initiative include:

Restructure the SNIA organization to support technical development, education, and marketing for the standard and seek accreditation as a standards body

  • Develop a plan and schedule for advancing the Bluefin specification into a full storage management interface standard
  • Provide training for developers
  • Stage plugfests and interoperability demonstrations
  • Develop an SMI conformance test suite as part of the SNIA Interoperability Conformance Testing Program.

  • Drive the creation of OpenSource to support vendor implementation

“It is imperative that the SNIA keep the standards process moving, because open standards always benefit both vendors and users. The SNIA Storage Management Initiative is a step towards putting a true management standard in place,” said Dan Tanner, Director of Storage Research, Aberdeen Group.

Andrea Westerinen, Vice President of Technology for the DMTF, says that SMI will increase “the coverage, power and capabilities” of CIM/WBEM. “SMI and DMTF’s CIM/WBEM will combine to make a strong storage standards solution, leading to truly interoperable multi-vendor management. The alliance between DMTF and SNIA has definitely stimulated development and moved the industry forward.”

Companies that contributed to the development of the Bluefin specification included: BMC Software, Brocade, Computer Associates, Dell Computer Corporation, EMC Corporation, Emulex Corporation, Gadzoox Networks, HP, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM Corporation, JNI Corporation, Prisa Networks, QLogic, Storage Technology Corporation, Sun Microsystems, VERITAS Software.

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