SNIA pushes for open storage standards

Storage Networking Industry Association and Eclipse Aperi open-source project have formalised their relationship to aid the development of SMI-S

The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) has formalised its alliance with the Eclipse Aperi open-source project, to increase its collaboration around open-storage-management standards.

Technology vendors involved in the Aperi project include IBM, CA, Cisco, Novell, and Fujitsu. Initially led by IBM, Eclipse Foundation is now a standalone, not-for-profit organisation.

SNIA and Aperi officially teamed up in September 2006 to develop a standardised open-source code for storage-management systems. The two organisations will continue to focus on pushing the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S), an interoperable storage-management technology. In addition, the organisations will now focus on conformance testing, marketing, education and end-user outreach.

Vincent Franceschini, the chairman of SNIA, told ZDNet UK that the alliance has not been formalised through a legally binding agreement, but through an "alliance record" or memorandum of understanding (MoU). Although the two organisations have traditionally had close links, the formal MoU has been created now, as the organisations have reached a compromise to align their interests.

"Eclipse is very open by nature, while SNIA is a gated-community environment," said Franceschini. "We have different rules of engagement for members, so we spent time formulating our [common] IP policy."

Aperi will use the open code that is developed to the SMI-S standard in future products, while SNIA benefits by Aperi contributing to the standard development.

Franceschini said that any company using Aperi code would not automatically be certified to the SMI-S standard, but would have to go through the SNIA certification process individually.

The standard received a boost on Wednesday, with the announcement by storage vendor EMC of its completion of the implementation key profiles and features of SMI-S version 1.2. EMC has implemented the standard for 36 current and previous models of its Symmetrix and Clariion storage arrays.

SMI-S v1.2 profiles and features that the company has implemented include block storage views, storage server asymmetry and volume composition. EMC has also upgraded its existing SMI-S v1.1 profiles to the requirements of the v1.2 specification, and added platform-specific extensions beyond what is required by SMI-S. Collectively, EMC storage platforms are open to be managed by any SMI-S-compliant storage-management application, including EMC ControlCentre software.

"As a forerunner and leading supporter of open standards, EMC is committed to helping its customers and the SNIA advance SMI-S by developing and implementing complete, feature-rich profiles into its products," said Jeff Nick, EMC's chief technology officer. "EMC is moving ahead aggressively to help accelerate SMI-S momentum and to be a catalyst for widespread adoption of the specification in end-user environments."

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