Standards, standards

"Of course standards are good," the old joke goes. "Otherwise why would we have so many of them?"

A year ago Joe Tucci, EMC's CEO, told us that "... every single hardware product we make will be CIM/Bluefin compliant, every piece of software that we produce will be CIM/Bluefin compliant, and everything we do in the fabric will be CIM/Bluefin compliant." Nonetheless, there has been a good deal of concern among both vendors and users regarding EMC's commitment to these standards.

Last week, in a presentation to analysts that showed almost as many logos from the Storage Networking Industry Association as it did EMC's own logo, CTO Mark Lewis showed the first fruits of this effort.

EMC is shooting for SMI-S (SMI-S stands for "Storage Management Initiative Specification", the new name for Bluefin) compliance across its entire product line within the next few years. SMI-S-manageable CLARiiON and Symmetrix will be available in December 2003 (all Clariions shipped since 2000 are planned to be SMI-S-manageable eventually), network-attached storage is planned to be manageable by next year, and SMI-S-enabled storage management applications will be available as interoperability testing of third-party providers is completed.

In the era of the silent movie, the respected Austrian actor-director Erich von Stroheim played nasty German generals and was touted by the American cinema industry as "the man you love to hate." Apparently not many people did like him much, but his work was widely respected and, except for the fact that his perfectionism was apparently painful for others to work with, he was highly regarded by his peers. If you consider EMC to be the Erich von Stroheim of the computer industry, it would be good to remember also that he produced many good products and made lots of money both for himself and for his backers.

On another standards front, the NFS Industry Conference (see link below) sponsored by Sun, EMC, Network Appliance and Hummingbird begins next week. The three-day conference takes place at the Hilton Hotel in Santa Clara, from Sept. 22-24. The event's first day features tutorial sessions for those among you interested in early implementation and deployment of NFS Version 4. The general sessions feature keynote speakers from the sponsoring companies, plus presentations addressing NFS on Linux, NFS security, NFS customer talks from AOL and Intel, and other NFS roadmap issues.

My previous column in this topic raised serious commentary from some of my readers in academic circles. Clearly, there are many opinions regarding the direction NFS has taken and those are forcefully held. I can also tell you that, at least the opinions I saw, were well-considered and thoughtfully presented. Hopefully, the give and take will be equally lively at the meetings.

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