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The agreement builds on the interoperability efforts by HP and IBM and serves as a stepping-stone to the anticipated delivery of a standards-based management platform based on CIM (Common Information Model) and Bluefin.
Under the terms of the agreement, HP and IBM are cross-licensing storage application programming interfaces (APIs) and command line interfaces (CLIs) to support the development and delivery of storage management solutions for selected storage arrays from the two companies. This will enable HP OpenView storage management software to manage IBM's TotalStorage Enterprise Storage Server, code-named Shark, and IBM's storage management software to manage the HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) and Enterprise Modular Array (EMA) storage systems.
The implications of the resulting technology exchange include greater flexibility, improved service levels and operational efficiencies in the growing enterprise networked storage environments of customers.
"For the past two years, HP and IBM have been driving the storage industry towards open standards and interoperability," said Mark Sorenson, vice president, Storage Software Division, HP Network Storage Solutions. "More progress is needed, which is why we are taking this step today. Multi-vendor storage environments are a reality now, and our customers need tools to more effectively manage their networked storage solutions."
"One of the biggest concerns facing customers today is the issue of interoperability and the ability to operate in today's increasingly heterogeneous environments," said Brian Truskowski, chief technology officer, IBM Storage Systems Group. "Customers want to know that the vendors are working together to provide interoperability. This agreement demonstrates to customers that we are working to solve their storage networking challenges today, even as we move forward with industry standards."
Bluefin and CIM Efforts
The exchange of interfaces is an interim step towards standards-based interoperability, which is the goal of the emerging Bluefin and CIM standard. Bluefin and CIM provide a common management interface for all components in a storage area network (SAN), including disk arrays, switches, host adapters and servers.
HP and IBM were active participants in drafting the Bluefin specification, which has now been adopted as the basis for future work by the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA). The future Bluefin standard will allow IT managers to connect multiple vendors' products into a SAN and manage them all with a common set of tools. HP and IBM continue to support Bluefin in SNIA, most recently participating in a breakthrough demonstration of heterogeneous SAN management using Bluefin technology.
"Organizations are looking for value through storage hardware and software that work in heterogeneous environments," said Sorenson. "Vendors that continue to try to lock in companies with a proprietary approach will find themselves locked out by customers."
Truskowski added, "In today's environment, customers are making their technology purchases based on products that provide them the most flexibility. Vendors that make a bet on proprietary approaches over industry standards will lose."
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