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 managing director Michael Bosch.
The group is keen to stress the initiative is not about creating new standards. Freely admitting that standards have "always been 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. Today, about 50 per cent of hardware purchases are for storage, according to figures from the Storage Network Industry Association. 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.
"There was a time when you bought a box which did everything, and everything came from one vendor. This is no longer the case - we are operating on best of breed for a variety of functions."