Vendors unite on networking

Seven networking vendors have formed an industry group to help address the bane of every networking integrator's life - interoperability.

The Open Storage Networking Initiative (OSN), made up of Quantum/ATL, Network Appliance, Cisco Systems, Veritas, Legato, Foundry Networks and Amdahl was officially launched in Australia last week to help organisations integrate servers, storage appliances, automated tape libraries and network-switching equipment across multiple vendors.

"We want to extend the customer's choice beyond the proprietary set of solutions," said spokesperson for the initiative, Network Appliance's Michael Bosch.

The group is keen to stress the initiative is not about creating new standards. Freely admitting standards have "always been of the lowest common denominator", the initiative will define an open architecture and road map for storage networking architectures and extol the virtues of open storage networking.

"Open being the key word," Bosch said. "We are not here to invent new standards."

Storage is fast becoming big business in the enterprise market. According to figures from the Storage Network Industry Association, about 50 per cent of hardware purchases today are for storage. This figure is expected to reach 75 per cent within three years.

"Managing storage can be as high as 10 times the cost of purchasing hardware," Bosch said. "And this will be driven further by the increasing manifestation of content.

Under the initiative, existing processes for certifying applications will still be used, according to the companies.

According to the vendors, what this means for integrators is increased opportunities to install systems by saving them and their customers both time and money.

"We are providing support for our channel partners so they can go and easily integrate systems," said Cisco Systems Andrew Smallridge."

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