Storage Leaders Craft API Deals

EMC announces API-sharing deal with HP; next week, HP will announce similar deal with IBM.

Two major API-sharing deals among enterprise storage vendors will be announced imminently, sources close to the players said.

On Wednesday, Hopkinton, Mass.s EMC Corp. announced an API-sharing deal with Hewlett-Packard Co. Next week, HP will announce a separate such deal with IBM.

The sharing of application programming interfaces and the related command-line interfaces lets companies make hardware and software that is natively interoperable, and has been a controversial issue recently.

Wednesdays deal is not a direct show of support by HP for EMCs AutoIS initiative, acknowledged Don Swatik, vice president of alliances at EMC. But the deal may help build momentum for EMC to seek partners like Hitachi Ltd. and IBM, the two companies most conspicuously absent from EMCs sphere of influence.

Still, if EMC should fail to partner with those companies, reverse engineering is possible, Swatik has said.

The EMC-HP deal was actually signed earlier this month, and HP didnt announce it because officials there viewed it as merely an extension of last falls EMC-Compaq Computer Corp. deal, sources said. Officials on both sides last fall had said the deal would extend to future products.

"It applies to HPs APIs, [but] just like the first time, we do not support WideSky," an HP spokesman said.

The deal comes days after EMC hired Mark Lewis, the former Compaq storage chief, away from his most recent marketing role at HP. Todays deal contradicts what Lewis predicted this spring before the Compaq-HP merger completed. At the time hed said, "You will see additional announcements of API agreements between Compaq and other major storage vendors sooner than youll see them from EMC."

Later next week, HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., will announce a separate deal with IBM, of Armonk, N.Y. Details of that deal are not known, but like Wednesdays EMC-HP deal, next weeks will only apply to HPs own products—not to Hitachi Ltd.s, the high-end maker, which HP resells, sources said.

That developing situation leaves Hitachi and Sun Microsystems Inc. largely out of the interface-sharing loop. Sun, of Santa Clara, Calif., also resells Hitachis gear.