HP, Hitachi Ink API-Sharing Deal

But the outlook does not look good for similar deals with EMC.

Storage leaders Hitachi Ltd. and Hewlett-Packard Co. on Tuesday announced an agreement to share application programming interfaces with each other.

The deal comes on the heels of HPs reaffirming its existing deals with Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM and EMC Corp., of Hopkinton, Mass., and of Hitachi also sharing with IBM.

With the largest storage vendors facing the gradual commoditization of their hardware, users are demanding more interoperability, especially for so-called heterogeneous—or hardware-agnostic—management software. Sharing APIs are a crucial step in delivering on that demand.

Later this year, that interoperability will appear in HP products, said Mark Sorenson, vice president of the Storage Software Division of HPs Network Storage Solutions, in Houston.

Interoperability will reach Hitachi products early next year, said Christine Wallis, senior vice president of global strategy and planning, for Hitachi, in San Jose, Calif. That will follow Hitachis release of its updated HiCommand software in December, using the Bluefin and Common Information Model specifications, she said.

API-swapping also brings up the question of how vendors will differentiate themselves from each other in the future.

"Its too soon to know what the answer will be," Wallis said.

Despite Tuesdays news, another deal—between Hitachi and EMC—is the one most coveted by users, but wont likely happen. Talks between the companies stalled last fall, when the two sued each other over alleged patent infringements.

"Were not talking to them, its real simple," Wallis said.

HPs Sorenson was equally blunt, despite his companys relationship with EMC.

"EMC is left out in the cold. For Widesky, its game over," he said, referring to EMCs storage management translation software.

EMC officials played down the criticism. HP is just "running scared," a spokesman said.