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The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) today announced the formation of the Storage Management Initiative (SMI) Forum. The SMI Forum is the fifth forum to be formed by SNIA specifically to drive the adoption of technologies and interoperability, joining the Supported Solutions Forum, IP Storage Forum, DAFS Developers Forum, and Storage Security Industry Forum.
The role of the SMI Forum is to drive the broad adoption of SNIA and complementary industry standards from which vendors can build management applications for multi-vendor storage networks. SNIA says that the Forum will initially focus on the promotion of the SMI Specification for SAN-based storage management, based upon the Bluefin specification. The SMI Specification grew out of SNIA's Storage Management Initiative, launched in August 2002, to ultimately solve one of most challenging issues facing the storage industry; that of management interoperability.
The specification will define how Common Information Model (CIM), Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM), and new SNIA-developed CIM component technologies interoperate. It is an object-oriented messaging interface specification that links distributed management applications with device management support. By conforming to the SMI Specification, companies will be able to develop their products to a single standard interface, eliminating the current requirement for developing to several proprietary interfaces. Multi-vendor SANs consisting of SMIS-enabled products will offer increased reliability and security, and be easier for end users to monitor and manage, ultimately leading to lower total cost of ownership.
The Forum will also support a number of activities the SNIA has launched to compliment the SMI specifications and technologies. These activities, targeted at storage companies and their customers, OEMs, and systems integrators, include the development of interoperability conformance tests, vendor plugfests and demonstrations, education, and professional certification.
"The SNIA recognizes customer demands for more efficient, manageable storage network solutions and is focusing its efforts on the Storage Management Initiative to make truly open, interoperable storage networks a reality," said Sheila Childs, Chairperson of the SNIA Board of Directors. "The SMI Forum provides the resources to SNIA to expand and accelerate the success of the SMI and ultimately the storage networking industry as a whole."
The Forum, which has established a goal to have 60% of all vendors' products compliant with the SMI Specification by 2004, and 100% in 2005, is open to all members of the Association. A number of companies including BMC, Brocade, HP, IBM, Intel, McDATA, StorageTek, Sun and VERITAS have already indicated their intent to participate in the SMI Forum
The Forum began accepting members on October 25, 2002, and will next meet at the SNIA Storage Summit conference in December when it is expected to elect a Forum Executive Committee comprised of Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer and Secretary.