Storage Basics: SMI-S


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SMI-S Quick Reference

What is SMI-S?

SMI-S is a standard management interface developed by SNIA to ease the management burden in multi-vendor SAN environments.

SMI-S provides a common management interface for network components, decreasing the complexity of SAN management.

What does it mean for end users?

SMI-S provides the ability to easily integrate and manage multi-vendor components into a SAN. This will provide increased flexibility, manageability, and reliability. Additionally, SMI-S will reduce the need to learn multiple storage management tools and utilities.

What does it mean for vendors?

A widespread adoption of SMI-S will decrease a vendor’s product time to market and at the same time expand a vendor’s addressable markets.

Vendors will be able to focus their attention towards value-add functionality and away from the need to develop and integrate support for disparate and proprietary interfaces.

Further information on SMI-S

As a SNIA initiative, current news and information on SMI-S can be found on the SNIA web site at www.snia.org.

Since the early days of network storage, interoperability, simplicity, and flexibility have been critical considerations for those who manage storage, whether in data centers or enterprises. At the same time, the management of heterogeneous, or multi-vendor, SANs has been an ongoing source of frustration and aggravation for both end users and vendors alike. Ongoing interoperability issues have led to the use of uncoordinated applications from multiple vendors, creating a complex management environment.

The release of the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S) may hold the key changing all of this.

Back in 2002, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) developed SMI-S to address the interoperability management concerns for storage networks. The basic intent of SMI-S is to make it easier for the hardware and software from different storage vendors to work together.

The specification seeks to replace the disparate protocols and transport technologies from multiple vendors with common models and common protocols, making it easier for developers to support devices from other vendors and, in turn, reduce the time to market for their products. The end result is a common management interface for network components that decreases the complexity of SAN management.

SMI-S is based on existing standards such as the Common Information Model (CIM), which describes the management requirements and capabilities of systems, and Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM), which specifies how they should be used. SMI-S includes common interoperable and extensible management transport, automated discovery, and resource locking.

What this all means is that when a new SMI-S component is introduced to a SAN, it will announce who it is and what it can do, and will then be able to properly share its resources with multiple entities.

Page 2: The Advantages of a Common Management Standard

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