Storage Management Ware Takes Hold

With storage hardware becoming more of a commodity, vendors are turning toward software development-specifically, storage management.

With storage hardware becoming more of a commodity, vendors are turning toward software development—specifically, storage management.

Established companies such as Hitachi Ltd. and BMC Software Inc. are joining startups in developing software designed to tie together the myriad storage products and to manage the data that flows through them.

"Theyve got all the hardware out there now, so lets get some decent software to manage it," said Mike Popp, a network administrator at laser technology maker Cymer Inc., in San Diego.

At the Storage Networking World show in Orlando, Fla., this week, Tokyo-based Hitachi will introduce a storage management framework, called HiCommand, according to Kevin Sampson, product manager.

HiCommand manages systems from Hitachi and Sun Microsystems Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., building on the alliance those companies struck this summer. It has a Web interface and a set of APIs for third-party development. An update will come early next year. Hitachi will consider making the APIs available to EMC Corp. or IBM but only if those companies do the same with their management software.

Hitachi will also announce this week support for 2G-bps SANs (storage area networks), officials said.

The conference in Orlando is an example of the trend toward software. Few, if any, new storage devices are expected to be announced, with peripherals and software stealing the spotlight.

Compaq Computer Corp. will announce its Universal Network Storage connector, designed to attach arrays of network-attached storage devices to SANs. The Houston company will also show its new Enterprise Virtual Array, a software-based RAID product, said Mark Lewis, vice president and general manager of Compaqs Enterprise Storage Group.

BMC, also of Houston, will join Hitachi and others, such as Astrum Software Corp., Peerless Systems Corp.s Netreon Inc. unit, TeraCloud Corp. and McData Corp.s SANavigator Inc. unit, in announcing new storage management software.

To address the human issues of managing storage, the Storage Networking Industry Association, of Mountain View, Calif., will announce the first professional certification for storage specialists. The Storage Networking Certification Program will be administered by the Prometric division of Thomson Corp., in Baltimore, and will have professional, practitioner, specialist and expert levels. Certification will be valid for two years.

Meanwhile, some companies, such as LSI Logic Corp. and Bocada Inc., will use the show to announce new backup and recovery products, while others, such as Adaptec Inc. and Nishan Systems Inc., will debut storage-over-IP hardware.