SNIA: Storage Standard Coming Along

The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) Monday said it has begun the second phase of testing
for the Storage Management Initiative (SMI) (aka Bluefin).

In development for a couple of years, SMI was created by SNIA members to facilitate interoperability across disparate storage systems, regardless of
vendor. The standard is largely seen as the saving grace for the storage networking community, allowing IT managers to use the lone SMI
application programming interface (API) to ensure the compatibility of products from competing companies. Because storage industry experts expect
this to drive the market opportunity to new heights, systems heavyweights such as IBM, HP and Cisco Systems are embracing it en masse.

The SNIA Technical Work Groups, which have finished their review of the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-Specification) document,
have begun SMI testing at the SNIA Technology Center as part of the new Storage Management Forum-
(SM-Forum) sponsored CIM-SAN-2 Developers Demonstration Program.

This implementation and testing cycle, which will last for six months,
enables developers to use the specification to flex management applications
in heterogeneous storage networking environments.

Jerry Duggan, chair of the SM-Forum Interoperability Committee, talked about
the test as though it were a sign “on the road to becoming a recognized
public standard.” He also claimed SNIA plans to deliver a standard
specification by the end of 2003.

The first plugfest, CIM-SAN-1, took place at Fall Storage Networking World
2002. The SM-Forum Developers Program will give the first public
demonstration of CIM-SAN-2 capabilities at Storage Networking World (SNW) in
Scottsdale, Ariz. next month.

SNIA said it has made progress from the first go-around, with new security,
discovery and management functionalities in CIM-SAN-2.

For example, CIM-SAN-2 features array volume creation for creating logical
volumes in arrays and virtualizers and making them available for hosts;
array LUN masking, a security function that controls visibility of logical
volumes to hosts; array snapshot and mirror control for creating, splitting
and synchronizing snapshots and mirrored volumes; and fabric topology and zoning
discovery, which facilitates the discovery of how devices are connected to
switches and their zoning parameters.

John Webster, senior storage analyst and co-founder of the Data Mobility
Group, said CIM-SAN demonstrations will make it possible for users to
install interoperable management solutions based on their specific business
needs and allow them to construct more diverse multi-vendor SANs with

“With strong vendor and end user cooperation and high demand for storage
management interoperability, the SM-Forum has the necessary backing to
achieve its goal to make the SMI-Specification — and what it represents in
terms of delivering standards-based product to the marketplace — a reality
in 2003.”

Indeed, firms pledging support for CIM-SAN-2 program include such luminaries
as Brocade, Cisco, EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, HP, IBM, Network Appliance and
Sun Microsystems.

This story originally appeared on

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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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