In development for a couple of years, SMI was created by SNIA members to facilitate interoperability across disparate storage systems, regardless of vendor. The standard is largely seen as the saving grace for the storage networking community, in which IT managers could use the lone SMI application programming interface (API) to ensure the compatibility of products from competing companies. Because storage industry experts expect this to drive the market opportunity to new heights, systems heavies such as IBM, HP and Cisco Systems embrace it.
The SNIA Technical Work Groups, which have finished their review of the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-Specification) document, have begun SMI testing at the SNIA Technology Center as part of the new Storage Management Forum- (SM-Forum) sponsored CIM-SAN-2 Developers Demonstration Program.
This implementation and testing cycle, which will last for six months, enables developers to use the specification to flex management applications in heterogeneous storage networking environments.
Jerry Duggan, chair of the SM-Forum Interoperability Committee, talked about the test as though it were a sign "on the road to becoming a recognized public standard." He also claimed SNIA plans to deliver a standard specification by the end of 2003.
The first plugfest, CIM-SAN-1, took place at Fall Storage Networking World 2002. The SM-Forum Developers Program will give the first public demonstration of CIM-SAN-2 capabilities at Storage Networking World (SNW) in Scottsdale, Ariz. next month.
SNIA said it has made progress from the first go-around, with new security, discovery and management functionalities in CIM-SAN-2.
For example, CIM-SAN-2 features: array volume creation for creating logical volumes in arrays and virtualizers and making them available for hosts; array LUN masking, a security function that controls visibility of logical volumes to hosts; array snapshot and mirror control for creating, splitting and synchronizing snapshots and mirrored volumes: and fabric topology and zoning discovery, which facilitates the discovery of how devices are connected to switches and their zoning parameters.
John Webster, senior storage analyst and co-founder of the Data Mobility Group, said CIM-SAN demonstrations will make it possible for users to install interoperable management solutions based on their specific business needs and allow them to construct more diverse multi-vendor SANs with confidence.
"With strong vendor and end user cooperation and high demand for storage management interoperability, the SM-Forum has the necessary backing to achieve its goal to make the SMI-Specification -- and what it represents in terms of delivering standards-based product to the marketplace -- a reality in 2003."
Indeed, firms pledging support for CIM-SAN-2 program include such luminaries as Brocade, Cisco, EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, HP, IBM, Network Appliance and Sun Microsystems.