HP, IBM to Share Storage APIs

The companies announce an API-sharing deal for their enterprise storage arrays, to be implemented in products later this year.

IBM and Hewlett-Packard Co. on Tuesday announced an expected API-sharing deal for their respective enterprise storage arrays, to be implemented in products later this year.

"We will be cross-licensing our APIs and [command line interfaces]," said Mark Sorenson, vice president of the Storage Software Division of HPs Network Storage Solutions. "These will support the development and delivery of storage management products for the companies respective storage arrays."

HP will now be able to manage IBMs Enterprise Storage Server, better known as Shark, through HPs own OpenView suite, and IBM will be able to manage HPs Enterprise Modular Array and Enterprise Virtual Array though IBMs Tivoli family, according to Sorenson and IBMs Brain Truskowski, vice president of technology and strategy for IBMs Storage Systems Group.

Both companies will demonstrate interoperable management at the Storage Networking World trade show in October in Orlando, Fla. The HP implementation will come in Version 3.0 of OpenView Storage Area Manager this fall. IBM officials were not available to say when their implementation will be available.

The deal does not apply to HPs SureStore XP series, which is the Palo Alto, Calif., companys high-end monolith array, made by Hitachi Ltd. However, HP, which already has a similar deal with EMC Corp., will announce another deal within 30 days, Sorenson said. That will likely be with Hitachi, sources close to HP confirmed.

IBMs Truskowski would not comment on the Armonk, N.Y., companys status of talks with either EMC or Hitachi. However, he said IBM would not rule out working with EMC, of Hopkinton, Mass. IBM struck a separate deal with Hitachi last year, but little came of it.

"I think this announcement today is potentially another nail in the WideSky coffin," Sorenson added, referring to EMCs software for translating rivals storage interfaces into code compatible with EMC products.

The HP-IBM deal has a clause that lets both companies leave the APIs behind in favor of CIM (Common Information Model) when that standard is ready, Sorenson said. Even if CIM succeeds, APIs will still be necessary because CIM currently only works with Fibre Channel, and not with other technologies like network-attached storage, storage over IP or InfiniBand.