Will Aperi Software Run
Only on Tivoli?"> Sources from two members of the five-company coalition, who asked not to be identified in this story, told eWEEK that the group is wary that Aperi may want to produce storage management software within Eclipse that will run exclusivelyor at least optimallyon IBMs proprietary Tivoli software management platform. Tivoli includes business intelligence, integration, application allocation and a large number of other products; this would certainly be a potential business threat to the companies in the non-Aperi coalition. This shouldnt be a concern, IBMs Norsworthy said.As is required in most open-source licenses, if the developer were to change any of the Eclipse platform files to help build that plug-in, then those Eclipse files would be required to be given back to the community, Norsworthy added. "I like to use the example of XML, when it first came out [in the late 90s]," Norsworthy said. "XML was approved as a W3C [World Wide Web Consortium] standard, and later there were two or three open-source implementations of it put into use. Its really up to the company itself as to whether it wants to use the open-source version of a piece of software or not use it, and its up to the individual company whether it wants to contribute back to the community what it builds on top of that open-source software." The creation of Aperi originally was viewed by some in the industrymainly the five companies noted aboveas a reaction to the comparatively slow progress of the SNIA on its interface specification effort. "What standards organization isnt slow-moving?" Ash Ashutosh, vice president and chief technology officer of HPs StorageWorks Division, in Palo Alto, Calif., told eWEEK. "They have to be deliberate in what they do. Anyway, we have an excellent standards set already: SMI-S 1.1, which is in just about every companys capacity management or performance management tool right now." What the analysts say Analysts have their own takes on the situation. "The people behind Aperi feel that they can produce running code more quickly by forming a new group centered on an open-source project hosted in the Eclipse community," analyst Michael Cote of RedMonk, in Denver, told eWEEK. "We all hope it will speed up the development and wide use of a storage standard and common platform. Since Aperi will be done as an open-source project, the process will be, and must be, very transparent. So well be able to tell midflight if things are going well or poorly, and avoid the Almighty Thud at the end: Consumers of Aperi will be able to cut and run if development is going too slow or poorly." Mike Karp, senior analyst at Enterprise Management Associates, in Westboro, Mass., said he thought complications result from the interrelationships of the companies on both sides. "The real problem has to do with business positioning more than standards," Karp told eWEEK. "Both sides will benefit from standards, but its in neither groups best interests to see a standard advanced in which the other group is more advanced. This is unlikely to quantitatively affect either side, both of which will push ahead full speed ahead with business as usual." Fujitsu, IBM and McData also announced June 28 they intend to contribute storage management software code to the Eclipse Aperi project. IBM plans to contribute more than 1 million lines of code from its TotalStorage Productivity Center software to the proposed Eclipse project, a spokesperson said. "SNIAs planned relationship with Aperi will include interoperability programs for SMI-S, the use of SNIA facilities for Aperi interoperability programs, and advancing current and new storage standards," Wayne M. Adams, chairman of the SNIA Board of Directors, in San Francisco, said in a statement. "The IT industry will benefit from Aperi helping to drive SMI-S implementations, storage technologies and open standards," Adams said. Earlier Eclipse-affiliated projects include Project Higgins (which allows people to gain more control over their digital identities), the AJAX Toolkit Framework (which simplifies the browsing experience and make it easier for users to shop, work, plan, correspond and navigate online), and the BIRT project (business intelligence and reporting software tools that help customers analyze and track loads of business data). Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and small business storage hardware and software.
"If a developer wants to build a plug-in or other feature on top of the SMI-S standard using the Eclipse platform, the resulting plug-in can be used in any way the developer wantsit can be sold or distributed or given away. It is completely optional for that developer to contribute the plug-in back to the [Eclipse] community," she said in reference to the Eclipse license.