By Marilyn Fausset
-- The Conformance Testing Program (CTP) for the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S) version 1.4 was recently enhanced by the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA). As part of the improvements, CTP-tested functionality is now reported in terms that are user-friendly and more meaningful to buyers. By consulting the SNIA-CTP website, companies could save time on storage purchases because the CTP test results are now listed by functionality so buyers can more easily identify the products that correspond to their storage needs.
Don Deel, chair of the Storage Management Initiative (SMI), explains the reason for the improvements: "This version of CTP includes features driven by users. The CTP results help users determine whether the tested products provide the functionality they are looking for."
The first vendors to pass the CTP provider suite for SMI S version 1.4 include Brocade, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Data Systems and Hitachi Ltd.
How can the CTP results help buyers? As an example, an end user looking for storage management solutions that are optimized for large-scale enterprise configurations can look at 1.4 CTP results for array vendors that support SMI-S standard management for "Subscribe to Event Notifications." Vendors that have implemented this type of support and passed the CTP for it are listed on the CTP web site. This demonstrates that a company's product can operate efficiently in a large-scale enterprise configuration.
The types of functionality reported are tailored to the type of storage. Results for a Fibre Channel switch test, for example, may include "Switch Management." For more details, you can follow a link to see this additional information:
Function Supported: Switch Management - The provider was successfully tested for modifications to a switch. This includes modifying the DomainID, locking the DomainID, the switch priority and the name of a switch. It also includes resetting the switch.
"Our previous reporting did not show functional capabilities of an SMI-S implementation," says James Rigger, conformance testing programs manager for the SNIA. "Now we are showing those capabilities, so a user that may not be familiar with SMI-S can understand what is supported. This change also signals a tightening of CTP testing, which was requested by SMI member companies."
Rigger recommends that purchasing decisions include a visit to the CTP web pages. Buyers need to be sure that prospective hardware vendors have passed the latest CTP test (v.1.4) for the selected product, and that this product supports the desired functionality. Buyers should also check with their current or prospective management applications vendors to be sure that the hardware products will integrate into their environment based upon the level of the SMI-S that their management software supports. Products that are standards-based can be more easily integrated into a heterogeneous management environment.
For a complete list of vendors with conforming products, visit this SNIA CTP web page.
Marilyn Fausset is a technical writer for the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA).