EMC adopts SMI standard

Hoping to keep momentum alive around its WideSky initiative, EMC has announced it will incorporate open-standards specifications into its developer suite by early next year.

The announcement follows the development of an industry standards initiative known as the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) Storage Management Initiative (SMI), which was previously referred to as the CIM (Common Information Model)/WBEM (Web-Based Enterprise Model)/Bluefin specification.

The SMI standard addresses a number of critical enterprise storage concerns in that it allows storage management software platforms, or clients, to discover, collect data from, and manage multivendor devices of all types, called providers, in a SAN.

Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC's decision to support open standards in its WideSky platform gives it the capability of collecting data from the SMI-compliant storage devices that are likely to come to market early next year from most vendors after the SMI standard is ratified, which is estimated to happen in March or April.

According to EMC CTO Mark Lewis, this support, combined with WideSky's capabilities, allows ISVs to worry less about writing code to collect data from SMI-enabled devices and instead focus on the capabilities of their own applications.

"Just programming to SMI will only allow you to probe devices on the SAN," Lewis explained. "With WideSky, though a middleware platform, we go down deeper and present all the data we collect from switches and arrays, so developers don't have to code these themselves."

Lewis explained that WideSky will then present the collected data to SRM (Storage Resource Management) software platforms that do the actual management of the SAN. He added that ISVs are interested in creating applications that accomplish functions and are not interested in writing code to query devices.

In the same vein, Burlington, Mass.-based startup AppIQ recently released its own SDK that assists hardware vendors to speed the development of SMI-complaint products.

According to Doug Cahill, vice president of business development and strategy, AppIQ's partner program -- dubbed CIMIQ -- helps storage hardware vendors create SMI interfaces for their respective devices before the standard's final ratification. Cahill explained that many vendors are well advanced in enabling devices to be accessed by SMI-compliant SRM platforms, but others, including EMC, trail behind.

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