As it kicked off its Storage Networking World (SNW) conference this week, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) announced completion of its Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI) standard.

Developed by the SNIA Cloud Storage Technical Working Group (TWG), the standard took a little less than a year to finalize. The Cloud Storage TWG has about 180 individual members representing about 60 organizations.

CDMI provides interoperability guidelines for cloud infrastructure vendors and third-party service providers, and can be used in public, private or hybrid cloud storage and cloud computing implementations.

Mark Carlson, chair of the SNIA Cloud Storage TWG (and a principal cloud strategist at Oracle), expects CDMI-compliant implementations to appear in the Fall timeframe. “But it’s not too early for users to ask vendors to show compliance roadmaps,” says Carlson. In the meantime, SNIA is creating a reference implementation of CDMI to facilitate compliance with the standard.

Carlson notes that cloud storage infrastructure vendors and service providers will not have to rip and replace their existing implementations, which are currently based on de facto standard or proprietary technologies.

“Proprietary cloud storage implementations will co-exist with CDMI-based implementations,” says Carlson, “and existing APIs will be side by side with CDMI APIs.”

CDMI provides standards for the data path to clouds, includes the ability to manage service levels that data receives when it is stored in the cloud, and includes a common interoperable data exchange format for securely moving data and its associated data requirements between clouds..

“For example, you can write a client that you can point to any cloud provider that implements CDMI and be able to do the same operation across different clouds,” Carlson explains. “We also standardized an interoperability format for data so that you can move data and its associated [service-level] requirements between cloud providers and get the same treatment of the data in the new cloud.”

CDMI is based on a RESTful HTTP protocol, and requires providers to implement stringent access controls and encryption of data for security purposes. The standard enables developers to mark cloud storage containers and data objects with Data System Metadata to enforce service-level requirements for the data.

For SNW attendees, SNIA will host a number of cloud storage tutorials, a Cloud Storage Birds of a Feather session, and a Cloud Storage Initiative (CSI) Cloud Pavilion and Lab. CSI members include Actifio, Bycast, Cleversafe, CloudOptix, Dell, Desktone, EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, HP, LSI, Mezeo, NetApp, Olocity, Oracle, Symantec and Xiotech.

Also at SNW today, the SNIA announced that Brocade, EMC, HP, Hitachi Data Systems and Hitachi Ltd. were the first vendors to pass the Conformance Testing Program (CTP) suite for the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S) version 1.4. For more information on the SNIA-CTP for SMI-S 1.4 tests, see “SNIA enhances SMI-S CTP for users.”

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