SAN Interoperability Reigns at Storage Event Page 2


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Where do we go from here sweet child o' mine?
Where indeed? Enterprise Storage Group's Marrone has some idea about what happens when CIM and Bluefin-based systems hit the market in a couple of years.

"CIM and Bluefin are going to neutralize the storage area networking market," Marrone predicted. "These standards will absolutely make it easier to manage multiple arrays and switches. CIM is like SNMP in that if you had an SNMP platform any router, whether it was Cisco, or someone else, would work on that platform with minimal configuration. CIM and Bluefin are very good for storage management."

Enterprise Management Associates' Karp had a similar take, but said it is a tricky proposition.

"With Bluefin, you have a set of specs specifically aimed at trying to present an open API," Karp said. "Bluefin defines all interfaces. It offers a common playing ground that all companies that subscribe to it can have access to. "It's a drum that a lot of companies still march to. Yet at the end of the day, the companies will have the same concern about giving up their crown jewels end of day; they won't give up that final set of knobs that provides differentiation."

Karp cautioned that it's not as easy as it sounds, saying "you really have to dive down almost to the molecular level."

Is Storage Networking World a pit stop on the path to interoperability?
Karp had this to say about the Orlando conference next week: "Bluefin will have its first large-scale public showing there, so this is very significant."

Indeed, SNIA member companies will showcase a multi-vendor storage area network (SAN) managed using a common interoperable interface for SANs being constructed by the SNIA. The "CIM-SAN" configuration is comprised of disk arrays, tape libraries, switches, host bus adapters, routers, NAS appliances, virtualizers, and storage management software. Zone management, volume management, LUN masking/mapping, asset management, and status monitoring using clients and servers will be the tasks exercised by CIM-SAN.

While some open source tools and infrastructure components are now available that will allow vendors to implement CIM/WBEM technology in products, many of the companies participating in the CIM-SAN demonstration are planning to ship CIM/WBEM-enabled products later this quarter and early next year.

EMC Director of Software Marketing George Mele, and Doug Cahill Vice President Business Development and Strategy at storage software upstart AppIQ, all spoke about what attendees can expect at the conference.

Mele told internetnews.com EMC will incorporate the SMI specification into the EMC WideSky Developers Suite. EMC plans to release SMI-enabled WideSky Software Developer Kits (SDKs) in 2003.

"It is our full intention to adopt CIM when it matures," Mele said. "It makes the architecture very nice and having this middleware mixture of CIM APIs go with it gives us choices. Every Widesky enabled app pushes CIM."

As for developments he'd like to see at SNW, Mele said he'd like to know just folks are writing CIM on the hardware side of things.

Cahill, whose AppIQ launched earlier this week, said his firm will demonstrate CIM-compliant storage resource management software that enables storage vendors to shorten development and reduce costs associated with delivering CIM-based products. AppIQ's CIMIQ platform is available to storage vendors interested in accelerating the development of CIM-compliant products. AppIQ also launched an associated partner program with such charter members as Brocade, Hitachi Data Systems, LSI Logic Storage Systems, Network Appliance, and Sun Microsystems.

"We're about lowering cost of ownership," Cahill said. "For every dollar spent on acquiring stored data, it costs $8 to manage it."

AppIQ wasn't born as a card-carrying CIM fan. Cahill said AppIQ revisited CIM and found the spec had matured. So, the company swears by it.

"It was pragmatic," Cahill explained. "So we flipped a bit. Now we are positioning ourselves as the Red Hat for CIM."

Pragmatic indeed. The may be one of the buzz words used to describe the interoperability standards demonstrated next week at Storage Networking World Fall 2002.

This story originally appeared on internetnews.com.

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