SNIA sets aggressive goals for SMI-S

SMI-S 1.1 will include services for NAS, host volume management, performance monitoring, health/fault management, iSCSI, policy management, and security enhancements.

By Ray Dunn

This year is poised to be productive for the advancement of interoperable storage technologies. Reacting to end-user demand for heterogeneous storage solutions, vendors are supporting storage management standards that address users’ “pain points.”

Last year, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) finalized the first storage management standard-the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S) version 1.0. To date, 17 vendors (see box) and more than 120 products have passed SMI-S conformance tests.

SMI Lab is a collaborative program that helps vendors accelerate implementation of SMI-S-based “client” and “provider” products. The fourth SMI Lab (SMI Lab4) recently concluded and achieved three primary goals:

  • Ensured that the SMI-S v1.0.2 specification is consistently implemented and interpreted across all participating vendors’ storage devices;
  • Demonstrated scalability features of SMI-S, which enables storage software to manage large-scale SANs; and
  • Demonstrated how the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encrypted network protocol manages communications between servers and storage devices. The validation of SSL performance in SMI-S environments allows users to benefit from this security technology, which is common in many IT environments.

Building on this momentum, SNIA member companies in December mapped out SMI-S goals for 2005 at the annual Storage Management Summit in Miami.

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Users can now begin to select products that use the SMI-S interface to communicate with their storage management applications. And while SMI-S technology is buried inside SAN devices, it is poised to offer significant benefits as more applications come to market that exploit the standard’s functionality.

SMI-S ready for liftoff

Vendors are trying to deliver relief to users looking for more-flexible, manageable, and heterogeneous storage networking technology. SMI-S 1.0 provided a foundation for SAN devices to describe their attributes and properties, as well as automatic discovery by configuration and management software. SMI-S 1.1-which is under development, with products being tested in SMI-Lab4-will raise this functionality by delivering more-advanced services needed to efficiently manage SANs.

This year, SMI-S 1.1 will deliver many of the advanced services needed to reduce complexity and ease configuration and control of devices from multiple vendors. SMI-S 1.1 services planned for delivery in 2005 include

  • NAS;
  • Host volume management;
  • Performance monitoring;
  • Health and fault management;
  • iSCSI;
  • Policy management; and
  • Security enhancements.


This year, the SNIA will also continue to expand the SNIA Conformance Test Program (SNIA-CTP), which was created to test and validate SMI-S product implementations.

Storage vendors that successfully complete the SNIA-CTP master test suites receive authorization to use the SNIA-CTP mark. The SNIA will extend the CTP this year to support SMI-S 1.1, to be followed by testing programs for storage management software.

SMI Lab5

Already underway, SMI Lab5 has added SCSI testing capabilities by refining the fundamental infrastructure and expanding the protocols used to implement SMI-S. This provides key management infrastructure for the extension of the specification to manage iSCSI-based SANs.

In addition, SMI Lab5 has demonstrated how SMI-S can be used to manage global data centers. Built on CIM/XML-over-IP technology, SMI-S can be used for long-distance storage administration and management.

SMI Lab5 will continue to show how SMI-S management clients can manage both local and remote storage resources. SMI Lab5 will become the proving ground for the upcoming SMI-S 1.1 release.

The SNIA encourages end users to engage vendors in a dialogue regarding their road map and commitment to open standards, as well as to become involved in the SNIA’s user groups.

For more information on SMI-S and the SNIA’s users groups, visit www.snia.org.

Ray Dunn is a board member of the Storage Networking Industry Association’s Storage Management Forum.

Vendors delivering SMI-S-conformant products

Brocade Hitachi Ltd.
Cisco IBM
CNT McData
Dell Network Appliance
EMC QLogic
Emulex SGI
Engenio StorageTek
Hewlett-Packard Sun Microsystems
Hitachi Data Systems

This article was originally published on February 01, 2005