IBM and Hewlett-Packard are expected to announce this week that they are exchanging management APIs for their storage hardware and software so network managers can manage their storage devices from a single management console.
The companies, which have long been competing against each other in midsize and high-end storage systems, apparently have seen the benefit of teaming up to have their software manage each other's storage arrays and software.
IBM will allow HP to manage its TotalStorage arrays and Enterprise Storage Server arrays; HP will allow IBM to manage its Enterprise Virtual Array, StorageWorks Enterprise Modular Array 8000 and OpenView Storage Area Manager.
The agreement is expected to have the largest effect on EMC, which recently paired with HP to exchange APIs.
"It means that EMC better partner up with IBM soon," said one observer, who asked not to be identified. "It forces EMC's hand pretty quickly. HP is brilliant and they now have a lot more flexibility."
What's surprising about the arrangements to exchange APIs is that Hitachi Data Systems is still silent on its strategy. Hitachi is the original equipment manufacturer of HP's high-end storage and resells the same equipment to Sun. It would behove Hitachi to play in the management interoperability area.
Also surprising is Sun Microsystems' position on API exchanges. The announcement comes the same week that Sun is expected to announce that it has enabled its storage management software with the Common Information Model (CIM). CIM is part of the proposed Bluefin specification, which aims at making the management of Fibre Channel storage interoperable. Sun is a member of Bluefin.