Highlights from Storage Networking World

SMI-S becomes an ANSI INCITS standard and is on its way to ISO standardization.

By Sheila Childs

This week's Storage Networking World (SNW) Fall conference and exhibition (Oct. 25 to 28 in Orlando, FL) highlighted a number of storage trends and technologies of interest to end users, storage integrators, and vendors.

A continuing theme at each SNW involves the sharing of end-user experiences, expectations, and demands. This year, presentations by John Halamka, MD, CIO of CareGroup Health System and CIO at the Harvard Medical School, and Keith Glennan, vice president and CIO at Northrop Grumman, highlighted the end-user perspective. Both speakers shared their views and insights on IT, the future of knowledge management, and the importance of their storage infrastructures in regard to their respective businesses.

Here are some other highlights of the conference:

Interoperability & Solutions Demo

More than 26 vendors participated in the Interoperability & Solutions Demo, including Adaptec, AppIQ, Brocade, Cisco, CNT, CreekPath, Crosswalk, Decru, EMC, Emulex, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM, Intransa, iStor Networks, MaXXan Systems, McData, Network Appliance, Nortel Networks, QLogic, Quantum, Sun, Veritas, XIOtech, Xyratex, and 3PAR.

The Interoperability & Solutions Demo enabled users to learn firsthand about products and technologies that address their differing storage needs and interests. For example, the IP storage solutions theme area provided a hands-on training clinic for attendees.

The clinic focused on providing real-world experiences with storage consolidation, iSCSI SAN consolidation, simplified data protection and affordable disaster recovery, and improved data management.

Other theme areas for the Interoperability & Solutions Demo covered a number of hot buttons in the storage industry, including virtualization, business continuance and disaster recovery, backup and recovery, regulatory compliance, and information life-cycle management solutions. For more information on the Interoperability & Solutions Demo, visit www.snwusa.com/interop_demo.html.

SMI-S in action

At the show, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) conducted its first demonstration of remote storage management via the SMI-S storage management standard. The Interoperability & Solutions Demo demonstrated a remotely managed infrastructure of more than 30 SMI-S-enabled products, which are installed at the SNIA Technology Center in Colorado Springs.

SMI-S provides interfaces for creating storage pools, allocating storage resources to servers, directing storage network traffic through the creation of zones, and providing LUN masking, all of which streamline some of the functions that are routinely performed by storage administrators.

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SMI-S promises to ensure interoperability of multi-vendor components in storage networks, which has been a key concern for both vendors and users for a long time.

Also announced at SNW, SNIA's SMI-S standard was approved as an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) InterNational Committee of Information Technology Standards (INCITS) standard. The SNIA is now focused on extending this work with -INCITS and ANSI to International Standards Organization (ISO) standardization, which will help ensure conformance of products that are developed in, or for, international markets.

By creating a uniform standard interface for managing storage devices, users can rely on a single "dashboard" for managing storage network components, which will reduce the complexity of day-to-day management operations.

Ultimately, SMI-S will provide the foundation for automation, virtualization, security, and other functions that are now performed through procedures that are unique to each device in the storage infrastructure.

On-site training and education

In addition to tutorials, SNIA Fall offered on-site end-user certification, training, and education programs. For example, the SNIA offered on-site testing for the Storage Network Foundations certification exam in its final published form, and the FC SAN Storage Administration/Management certification exam in its beta form.

Also, for the first time the SNIA offered the Qualified Storage Professional test from SNW Internet access terminals. The online, non-proctored qualification test is available on the Internet and is designed for storage networking professionals.

The SNW conference also provided users and storage integrators with an inside look at the new SNIA Technology Center Institute, which offers vendor-neutral, hands-on courses. Technology Center Institute advisors and instructors helped with education planning for attendees who were new to storage as well as those looking for advanced training. Specific areas of interest included IP storage and Fibre Channel implementation; advanced storage network planning, design, and troubleshooting; and hands-on training for storage networking certification.

The conference also focused on information life-cycle management (ILM). The SNIA Data Management Forum has released a road map for ILM implementation, which was collaboratively developed by members of the Data Management Forum and the SNIA ILM Technical Working Group. It will serve as a tool for the storage community to use in an effort to track progress and developments against emerging business issues related to regulatory compliance, data archival, management of the data life cycle, and other topics related to information management.

In addition to technical reference models and terminology definitions, the ILM implementation road map is meant to provide guidance for both users and vendors as they work their way through ILM-related data management issues.

For more information on the SNW conference, visit www.snwusa.com.

Sheila Childs is the chair of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA).

This article was originally published on October 01, 2004