SNW: SNIA attempts to clear up cloud confusion

By Kevin Komiega

-- The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) today used the Storage Networking World conference to announce the formation of the Cloud Storage Initiative (CSI), a new program to advance the development and adoption of the Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI) standard.

According to SNIA chair Wayne Adams, the CSI will work in conjunction with the SNIA Cloud Storage Technical Working Group (TWG), which was announced last spring and already boasts more than 140 members. The CSI will team with the TWG to bring specifications and technical developments to international standards bodies.

The SNIA team is concerned about the possibility that the cloud storage market will be saturated with proprietary interfaces before the technology evolves and standards around data portability, compliance and security can be developed.

"There is a land grab going on out there. Vendors continue to provide and expand their cloud offerings without necessarily considering the end users. That is why we are working across industries [with storage vendors and service providers] to make sure organizations understand how to put all of the pieces together and to foster growth and market development for cloud storage," says Adams.

The CSI will take the lead in coordinating and driving all activities within the SNIA related to cloud storage, including those for education, technical development, business development, marketing and implementation.

The first item on the SNIA agenda is the draft CDMI. Mark Carlson, chair of the SNIA Cloud Storage, NDMP and XAM SDK technical working groups and SNIA Technical Council member, says the CDMI is essentially a piece of code that sits on top of a file system and mimics the cloud for development purposes.

The code will be available under the BSD license and Carlson hopes it will prompt developers to aid the SNIA in developing standards.

"With CDMI, you can create, provision and mount storage to cloud computing applications. It also creates a management path for data that you put into the cloud. It helps you make sure that the data is being backed up, compressed, deduplicated, encrypted, etc., in the cloud," says Carlson.

The first public draft of CDMI was recently posted online and is available for public comment. Carlson says the SNIA is working toward a 1.0 release next year.

Founding members of the CSI include Actifio, Bycast, EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, HP, LSI, NetApp, Olocity, Sun, Symantec and Xiotech.

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This article was originally published on October 12, 2009