Open-Source Storage Community Formed

IBM has joined many storage, hardware and IT systems vendors to promote a unified storage management software infrastructure.

IBM has joined a host of storage, hardware and IT systems vendors to form an open-source community designed to promote a unified storage management software infrastructure for end-users by accelerating the deployment and implementation of key standards. The group hopes to have something available to customers by mid-2006.

Called "Aperi," derived from the Latin word for "to open," the new project is made up of Brocade Communications Systems, Cisco Systems Inc., Computer Associates International Inc., Engenio Information Technologies, Fujitsu Ltd., IBM Corp., McData Corp., Network Appliance Inc., and Sun Microsystems Inc. Community members will contribute code to push enhanced storage management and integration within an open standards-based framework while also developing new capabilities to augment their own storage products.

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With plans to get together in the next several months to formulate a roadmap, the group wants to build a common storage software management platform to provide storage customers with greater flexibility and ease toward running their storage environments, said IBM officials.

The project aims to alleviate customers storage complexity by reducing management hurdles involved with being tied to different stacks of storage management. Standardization, aligning appropriate storage with hardware purchases, and helping users to choose application tools to their specific needs are some of the goals of the new group. Existing standards such as the SNIAs (Storage Networking Industry Association) SMIS (Storage Management Initiative Specification) will be leveraged by building extensions and a common reference implementation to the popular storage management/storage hardware interface standard.

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Initially, IBM and Sun and a few other partners will donate some of their storage management intellectual property to the consortium. Other members of the community will have the option to offer up their technology as well. In addition, other key storage and IT systems vendors are being sought to join and participate in the fledgling group, said IBM.

Areas still to be determined by the new community include: how Aperi will work and deter-mining who will sit on the Board of Directors. Over the course of time, there will be a separate organization involved with Aperi, either outside or inside the SNIA. As part of that the members of the group will elect representative who will be members of a driving team to evangelize the community, its progress, and its mission.

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