A senior director at the Storage Network Industry (SNIA) has warned resellers to prepare themselves for end-users demanding devices compliant with the recent SMI-S storage management standard.
Chairman of the SNIA's Storage Management forum and industry standards manager for Sun Microsystems, Ray Dunn, said that by the end of 2005, he expected all new storage products to be SMI-S compliant.
"We're on track to achieve our goal," he said. "We're starting to hear of serious requests from end-users for SMI-S compliant technology. It's not quite a wave as such, but a stone has been thrown in the pool. The IT channel needs to be aware of the fact that people are beginning to ask questions."
SMI-S uses the Common Information Model (CIM) and Web-based Enterprise Management (WBEM) specifications to specify storage hardware and functions.
Vendors of storage hardware and software will be required to write interfaces that allow their hardware and software to share data using these common models in order to certify for SMI-S compliance.
Dunn said the challenge of storage management was becoming almost impossible for network administrators, and a lot of the pain was being transferred to IT services companies.
The standard should ensure users would not need to juggle numerous different management applications in a network of different storage appliances, Dunn said.
He said that with up to 65 per cent of storage costs being spent on management, better interoperability would free up spend and create better opportunities for VARs.
"Through enabling easier connectivity of the devices we're opening up resellers to the opportunity of layering on higher-value services such as network security and automated storage provisioning," he said.
The SNIA recently opened SMI-Lab5 in Colorado, a facility where all new equipment is tested and certified as SMI-S compliant.
Companies that have signed up to participate in SMI-Lab5 so far include Adaptec, Cisco, Computer Associates, HP, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM, Sun Microsystems and Veritas.
Recent investigation by IDG into products submitted to SMI-Lab5 revealed some vendors were using an abstraction layer on their software to give the appearance of compliance.
In reaction, Dunn said that as long as the goal of interoperability was reached, he did not mind how the vendors achieved it. Currently released as version 1.02, SMI-S 1.2 is scheduled for release in March 2005.