When it comes to storage environments, management, complexity, interoperability and serviceability are among the top challenges IT professionals face.
Answering this call, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) recently released Version 1.1 of its Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S).
SMI-S helps maintain and protect information in all the electronic forms represented by the various types of storage products.
By standardizing the communications that occur to provide management services to the storage infrastructure, SMI-S lets IT administrators use a single application for many operations that traditionally required separate management products in a storage network.
SMI-S 1.1 enables enhanced services in the areas of configuration, provisioning and trend reporting, event management, security and data protection.
For example, if a user wants to provision a new logical unit number (LUN), he would request storage for the application. He would supply the requirements for QoS and data protection. Then, the SMI-S Version 1.1 storage management would determine the availability of storage to meet these requirements. The management application request would go over a TCP/IP link to an SMI-S hardware device for information, which would be maintained in the SMI-S proxy server acting in the role of a Common Information Model Object Manager (CIMOM).
CIMOM would be able to provide information from several devices back to a management client. Lastly, the user would select a LUN through the storage management application, which then would perform a set of actions to assign a LUN to the application.
Here are some highlights of Version 1.1:
- Network-attached storage: Version 1.1 gives users with the ability to create and manage file shares, and monitor state changes.
- Host volume management: The new version enables storage-pool creation and monitoring -- ultimately allowing for initialization of volumes from storage pools and mapping a QoS such as the type of redundancy (RAID level) and other settings.
- Performance monitoring: The ability to conduct I/O performance reporting and monitoring across heterogeneous devices.
- Health and fault management: Normalize the reporting of problems with storage resources across a storage-area network, including identifying problems with devices and reporting appropriate faults and error messages.
- iSCSI: Allows the discovery and asset reporting of storage devices on iSCSI protocol storage networks.
- Policy management: Establishes rules-based automated operations across devices from different manufacturers.
- Security enhancements: Offers role-based authentication and identity management.
Using products without SMI-S, IT managers must make careful choices because of the proprietary nature of how these products would be managed. The combinations of products that work together might be extremely limited. Storage resource management software might require the need to place agents throughout an environment to gather and report information on how storage consumption was happening.
With SMI-S, the management information can be maintained in the device or in a central proxy CIMOM that consolidates information from many types of devices into a single instance of the common object model. SMI-S Version 1.1 products will be available during the coming year.
Dunn is an industry standards marketing manager with Sun, a member of the SNIA board of directors and an officer with the Storage Management Forum. He can be reached at Raymond.Dunn@Sun.com.