Leaders of the storage industry are collaborating on new projects to help customers figure out what technology to buy and how to use it.
The work, led by the Storage Networking Industry Association, includes an interoperability logo program; a portal for sharing technical information; new membership levels for users; and a plan to evolve the trade group into a standards body, representatives said last week.
The efforts are "critical to driving user adoption. We havent done a good job with getting everyone on the same page with interoperability," said SNIA Board of Directors Chairwoman Sheila Childs, in Phoenix. For $10,000, SNIA member companies can enter the new Information Conformance Testing Program to get the logo. Up to 30 companies are expected to be certified by this summer for interoperability with the SMI-S (Storage Management Initiative Specification) 1.0 and the iSCSI Management API, Childs said. The test is "rigorous," said Steve Jerman, a storage management architect at Hewlett-Packard Co. and co-author of the SMI-S CIM (Common Information Model), but its current prototype supports only arrays and not infrastructure, switches or tape libraries, Jerman said. Those functions will be added for the final version, he said.
SMI-S and CIM will get a 1.1 upgrade early next year, to include device extensions, volume management, network-attached storage, iSCSI and performance management, said Jerman, also in Phoenix. Logos will reflect the specification version a vendor passed, he said. While the logo program will help customers decide what gear to buy, other SNIA initiatives will help them manage it. Those include a Web portal to be announced later this year, run by the University of California at San Diego, for users to share information and advice, Childs said. Also, SNIA last week announced Customer Company Membership for $1,000 per year.
For Bob Mathisen, technical consultant at National City Corp., in Cleveland, the logo program wont make the financial company less vigilant. "I know our manager will still require us to certify it," Mathisen said. "On the mainframe side, its a heck of a lot easier." While for the open systems, "were also looking at virtualization, which adds another level of complexity," he said.