Storage Group Hashes Out ILM Standards

With so many vendors pitching their own flavors of information lifecycle
management (ILM), the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) this
week is carving out a general definition of the process to help interested
parties get started.

At the Storage Networking World 2004 show in Orlando, Fla., ILM will be
defined as a roadmap around which companies can build systems that store
data from its inception until it is ready to be disposed, according to Matt
Brisse, SNIA board member and senior technology strategist for the office of
CTO at Dell.

SNIA defines ILM as a schema “comprised of the policies, processes,
practices, and tools used to align the business value of information with
the most appropriate and cost effective IT infrastructure from the time
information is conceived through its final disposition. Information is
aligned with business requirements through management policies and service
levels associated with applications, metadata, and data.”

The definition helps customers craft a baseline template for ILM because, as
Brisse said: “not every ILM solution is perfect for every customer. What may
work for an Exxon or Mobile, may not work for a local accounting firm. We’re
trying to develop a definition that everyone can unite behind.”

In the past year, EMC , HP , IBM and a slew of other vendors in the storage space have put forth
their versions of ILM, and everyone differs to some degree. Having a
baseline definition could help customers figure out what products may be
best for their information management process.

In other news, Ray Dunn, board member of the SNIA and chairman
of the Storage Management Forum, said the Storage Management
Interoperability Specification has been approved by ANSI INCITS, the
American National Standard for Information TechnologyStorage.

SNIA members will demonstrate remote management with SMI-S, a standard that
allows software to manage disparate hardware systems from rival vendors.
Some 120 products from leading vendors have passed muster with SMI-S in the
past two years and will be on display at SNW.

Dunn told internetnews.com the remote demo in Orlando will access
storage through the Internet from the group’s interoperability lab in
Colorado Springs, Colo. SNIA will take gear from the lab and host a hands-on
lab for end-users.

“We’ll be highlighting day-to-day activities end-users have to do like
provisioning and creating zones and showing that a single management
application can manage multiple heterogeneous arrays,” Dunn said.

In other standards news, Brisse said the Common RAID Disk Data Format (DDF)
specification has been approved by SNIA.

DDF cuts overhead costs by allowing a basic level of interoperability
between different RAID vendors, which Brisse said is a common
pain point among IT administrators.

“For example, is I have a RAID 5 solution on a ROMB [Raid on Mother Board],
and I want to migrate that to a JBOD [Just a Bunch of Disks] solution using
a RAID card, I can’t do that because the data format on the drive itself
could be different from RAID vendor to RAID vendor and most often is,”
Brisse told internetnews.com.

This can result in administrators accidentally destroying crucial data,
Brisse said. DDF had been submitted to INCITS for review on a fast track and
DDF-compliant products are expected to appear in 2005.

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

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