In a major step toward implementing the new Fibre Channel storage-area networking protocol within information technology systems, a standard interface was announced last week at the Storage Networking World Conference in the US.
The Host Bus Adapter (HBA) Application Programming Interface (API), a critical ingredient to connecting systems and storage devices to more efficient Fiber Channel links, was announced by the Fibre Channel Work Group of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA). Fiber Channel is a storage area network (SAN) protocol that increases connectivity over traditional SCSI connections.
The new standard could help independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to consumers more quickly by using a single standardised interface.
The need for standardised interfaces grows as SANs continue to grow, according to the group.
Robert Gray, an analyst at IDC, said standards are needed for every transport protocol so users can efficiently implement the technologies. "It's just another positive step forward for the whole storage network concept and marketing," said Gray.
The announcement was the first phase of the work-group's continuing efforts to adopt new standards to enhance the use and manageability of SANs.
"The entire industry has been working diligently to ensure that Fiber Channel solutions can easily be implemented by consumers, and we believe this HBA API is a strong step in that direction," said Don Swatik, vice president of strategic planning at storage infrastructure maker EMC.
Kumar Malavalli, vice president of technology and co-founder of Brocade Communications Systems, said the new "HBA API demonstrates how the industry is coming together to ensure that storage networking solutions provide the flexibility, manageability and ease of implementation necessary for customers."
The new HBA API standard is being supported by about 25 vendors and industry groups including Adaptec, Agilent Technologies, the Fiber Channel Industry Association, Hewlett-Packard and StorageNetworks.