SNIA targets SAN interoperability

Posted on July 01, 1999

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SNIA targets SAN interoperability

Zachary Shess

Since re-dedicating their efforts earlier this year, members of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) are continuing plans to develop SAN interoperability standards and to educate end users about the merits of storage networking.

Headlining the activities at a recent SNIA conference in San Diego were specification proposals for enhancing the manageability of storage devices and software and for developing uniform server-less backup techniques.

Following the conference, an SNIA management workgroup submitted a Fibre Channel MIB (management information base) proposal to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The proposal reportedly enhances a submission made earlier this year by the Fibre Alliance, an industry coalition led by EMC. SNIA officials believe these additions will clarify the management of the interconnect between data repositories and storage software.

"As storage networks get increasingly interconnected and complex, you need tools to help say what the status is because problems can become harder to pinpoint," says Brad Stamas, SNIA board of directors` vice chairman and a consulting analyst with StorageTek. "The MIB is a mechanism to control, monitor, and manage the underlying infrastructure."

SNIA`s backup workgroup also recently finalized its specification for SCSI Extended Copy for server-less backup. SNIA officials submitted the specification to the T-10 standards body. Approval of both specifications is expected by year`s end.

Also at the conference, SNIA unveiled plans to establish an interoperability lab. "The lab," says Roger Reich, a Compaq network storage architect and the SNIA member spearheading the initiative, "will provide users with greater confidence in the multi-vendor solutions they`re buying." The lab, which will be staffed entirely by SNIA members, will first test Fibre Channel products and institute an interoperability certification program. Eventually, it will take on benchmarking and serve as a demonstration center for manufacturers and resellers.

Reich says it will be at least several months before the lab is a reality. The business plan will reportedly be finalized next quarter; SNIA members are expected to make an initial $5 million investment. The lab`s location has not been determined.

In the nearer term, SNIA will debut a series of workshops at its fall conference in Seatle. The series is designed for users who want to learn more about storage networking and related hardware and software. For more information about SNIA, visit www.snia.org.

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