Open Source Storage Management Gets a Big Push

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A consortium of some of the biggest vendors in the high-tech industry has formed to work on a common storage software management platform, something of a Holy Grail in the space to date.

Called Aperi, a Latin expression meaning “to open,” the group includes Sun Microsystems, Brocade Communication Systems, Cisco Systems, Computer Associates, Engenio Information Technologies, Fujitsu Limited, IBM, McData and Network Appliance.

The companies’ common goal is to give customers greater flexibility and choice in the way they manage their storage environments, which are typically made of hardware and software from several vendors.

Jim Stallings, vice president for intellectual property and standards at IBM, said on a conference call that technical barriers, such as application programming interfaces (APIs), have separated vendor from vendor, hardware from software, and fabric from machinery.

“This has created fragmentation between developers and independent storage management products, and this way has created major problems for customers,” Stallings said.

Aperi will base its methodology on the popular Eclipse Foundation, taking an open approach to building a common platform for managing all brands of storage systems, Stallings said.

Just as member companies do in Eclipse, Aperi participants will contribute code to help build interoperable storage applications. The code will embody standards the Storage Networking Industry Association has worked for.

Also, like Eclipse, Aperi will be managed by a non-profit organization. Members will work together to develop the platform and offer it free. The consortium will announce details about the organization, which will include a multi-vendor board of directors, at a later date.

IBM will donate part of its storage infrastructure management technology to the open source community. Other members will also donate some of their intellectual property.

“We will use this collective code to establish the first implementation of Aperi’s reference base for this storage management platform,” Stallings said.

On the call, it was pointed out that HP — which recently acquired standards-based storage management firm AppIQ — and EMC were absent from the list of members, along with other big names such as HDS and Symantec. Stallings said those companies were invited and noted that any company that wants to join is welcome.

“Yes, we have talked to EMC, HP and others who are not on the list, and for a variety of reasons they have chosen not to join or to delay their participation,” Stallings said.

EMC had a different story.

“We were surprised that EMC was first informed of the proposed initiative AFTER IBM had already briefed the press, reflecting a consortium without EMC’s inclusion,” the company said in a statement. “EMC remains committed to looking at all standards proposals, but we cannot take a stance on the proposed initiative at this time.”

Article courtesy of

Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.

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